“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” ~Titus 3:4
A good friend of mine always speaks of the kindness of the Lord.
“He’s so kind,” she says.
I can hear (through the phone) her smile as she says these words and shares how God gently helped her through the day or healed a deep wound or saved her from herself.
According to Webster our English definition of kind is: sympathetic, friendly, gentle, tenderhearted, and generous. All of these definitions paint a beautiful picture. We could all us a kind person in our lives, and we all desperately need a kind God.
The people I know who walk in freedom and the riches of Christ’s spiritual blessings are people who trust and know the kindness of God.
On the other side of the spectrum, I have friends who only know a punishing God. Every time circumstances don’t go their way, their anger burns at God because they believe He caused it…that He is punishing them.
I’ve been there. I remember the fear and great disappointment years ago when I didn’t get a job I desperately wanted and thought I needed. I assumed life would continue to be difficult and lonely; actually, I didn’t feel He was punishing me, but I couldn’t imagine God’s good plans. I just thought He wanted me to “suffer.”
“Jesus came to reveal God to us. He is the defining word on God–on what the heart of God is truly like, on what God is up to in the world, and on what God is up to in your life. An intimate encounter with Jesus is the most transforming experience of human existence. To know him is to come home.” ~John Eldredge, Beautiful Outlaw
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared…” When God’s kindness appeared wearing skin and a beating human heart…He saved us.
Kindness is a great word, but this kindess was translated from the Greek word, chrēstotēs. It does not hold the exact meaning as our English counterpart. This ancient word’s definition is rich:
…it is the grace which pervades the whole nature, mellowing all which would have been harsh and austere. Thus, wine is chrēstos, mellowed with age; Christ’s yoke is chrēstos, having nothing harsh or galling about it. The word is descriptive of one’s disposition and does not necessarily entail acts of goodness, as does the word, agathōsynē, active kindness.” (Key-Word NIV p.1687).
This word reveals a change of heart, a softening, a mellowing. “But when the mellowing of God’s heart and love of Jesus appeared, he saved us…”
[tweetability]Did God’s good heart soften even more after He walked this earth, experienced our human temptations, grief, and pain?[/tweetability]
If you struggle trusting God, I want to suggest that you only read the New Testament for the next year. (That’s a great New Year’s resolution!) Maybe only read the Gospels. Find every book you can about Jesus. Two of my favorites are, The Jesus I Never Knew, by Philip Yancey and Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge.
Jesus was God. Jesus is God.
Jesus is the full revelation of the heart of God.
He was the fulfillment of the Law. The complete picture. He healed everyone who asked. He laughed. He cried. He loved.
What helps you focus on the kindness of God?
With purpose beyond today,
Thanks for defining the two Greek words. We do acts of kindness because God’s kindness changes our hearts first, mellowing and softening us.
I love that thought, Sandy. Yes, His love mellow us!