“Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” – Romans 2:1-4 NASB
So far in our ongoing series in the Proverbs, we’ve talked about the purpose of wisdom. Specifically we have talked about what it says concerning pride and humility. In this post, I want to continue by showing a vital connection between wisdom and kindness.
Wisdom & Kindness
It’s been my experience that intelligence can and often does come with harshness. But according to the Scriptures—and experience—when a person is walking in wisdom, kindness is always there. But this kindness may not always appear to be what we perceive as kindness, or what the world defines it to be.According to Scripture—and experience—when a person is walking in wisdom, kindness is always there. But what is kindness? Click To Tweet
Our culture views kindness as being polite or tolerant. But this isn’t the case. Should we be such things? Sure in a way but there’s so much more. The word in Hebrew for kindness is ḥěʹ·sěḏ. It is defined as loyalty; joint obligation; faithfulness, goodness, graciousness; godly action.
For example, when Solomon instructed his son in Proverbs 3:3 he said, “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”
Not only is truth bound together with kindness, but what we’re actually talking about is faithfulness to the truth. As we read last week, Proverbs 27:6 says, “Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” Two stories that fit and contrast this Proverb would be Nathan the prophet (the wounds of a friend) and Judas Iscariot (the kisses of an enemy). What we’re seeing here is that true wisdom equals truth employed faithfully—this is kindness.True wisdom equals truth employed faithfully—this is kindness. Click To Tweet
C.S. Lewis, in The Problem of Pain said:
“The real trouble is that ‘kindness’ is a quality fatally easy to attribute to ourselves on quite inadequate grounds. Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment. Thus a man easily comes to console himself for all his other vices by a conviction that ‘his heart’s in the right place’ and ‘he wouldn’t hurt a fly,’ though in fact he has never made the slightest sacrifice for a fellow creature. We think we are kind when we are only (actually) happy: it is not so easy, on the same grounds, to imagine oneself temperate, chaste, or humble.”
And now according to a right understanding, faithful! So again, kindness is faithfulness, and faithfulness plays out even when the person you’re being kind to is rather difficult. Just as forgiveness is required where there is no excuse I would argue that faithfulness is most required when people are difficult.Just as forgiveness is required where there is no excuse I would argue that faithfulness is most required when people are difficult. Click To Tweet
Let’s look at Solomon’s first recorded judgement as king. We know the story of the two women who brought their case before him. They had both had babies but after one died in the night, the bereaved mother stole the live baby for her own.
King Solomon could have brushed them off and refused to be kind. Instead he did something that may not seem kind at first blush, but was actually kindness in action. He took the baby and asked for a sword, saying he would cut the baby in half and divide it equally among the two women.
This seems patently absurd! And it surely doesn’t seem kind—but it was. Solomon’s intent was not to divide a baby with a sword, but to divide the truth from a lie. Solomon was being kind by being faithful to the truth.
This is a king’s responsibility. A faithful king will always be for the truth. A faithful king won’t show partiality. A faithful king will always execute justice. Solomon had uncovered truth by acting as a faithful and kind judge. This is also what God does, and will do, with us.Solomon had uncovered truth by acting as a faithful and kind judge. This is also what God does, and will do, with us. Click To Tweet
Of course there’s another part of this story—something we can’t miss—the kindness of a mother. When presented with King Solomon’s proposal, the real mother was catalyzed to make a sacrifice of love. Those who walk in wisdom care for truth and for the lives of others above themselves.
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;” – Philippians 2:3 NASB
The birth mother in the story was willing to save the child’s life even at the steep cost of losing what she loved. This was kindness and faithfulness in action, and God rewarded her!
God is faithful in this way. He cannot be otherwise. Even when we’re wayward, He remains faithful. How has he been faithful to you? Comment below or email me at email@example.com.
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” – 2 Timothy 2:13 NASB