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What are some of God's attributes or characteristics that we should add to our faith to become godly? When I think of godliness or having a God-like character, one of the first things that comes to mind is compassion and forgiveness. God has a forgiving nature. He's more forgiving than any of us have ever been. Jesus told us to forgive and to never stop forgiving. We need to be a forgiving people and reach out to others with compassion like God does.

We need to quit being so hard on people and do what Paul said to do: "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep" (Rom. 12:15).

Compassion is not something that comes easily to us. That's why we're told to put on a heart of compassion. It's something we have to put on; something that takes effort.

This is where brotherly kindness comes into play. Brotherly kindness is godliness in action. Brotherly kindness means preferring your brother over yourself. It's being excited rather than getting jealous when you see your brother being blessed.

Kindness doesn't just flow out of our lives effortlessly. It has to be worked at, nourished, and encouraged. It takes effort to be kind to people because it often means going out of our way to be nice when it would be easier not to be nice.

The Bible is full of stories about those who showed forth brotherly kindness. One of the best examples is found in the life of Ruth. Ruth was a young Moabite widow when her mother-in-law, Naomi, decided to return to her homeland of Bethlehem. Ruth chose to go with her mother-in-law.

That was a great act of kindness on Ruth's part, because Ruth wasn't from the area of Bethlehem at all. If she went to Bethlehem, it meant she'd probably never be married because she didn't belong to the Jewish race; Ruth was a Moabite. But she chose to go and help her mother-in-law rather than go back to her own home and family and find a husband there. She was being kind and compassionate, and it meant going out of her way to do so. But kindness always pays. In a very short time, Ruth's kindness was noticed by Boaz, a very wealthy man. Soon she became his wife! Ruth's kindness was rewarded in a big way.

We also have the story about the little widow lady who was kind to one of God's prophets, Elijah. Elijah had been sitting by a brook at God's command, depending on the ravens to feed him. God had also said that Elijah was to drink from the brook (1 Kings 17:4). But then the brook dried up! So God instructed Elijah to go to a widow in Zarephath (1 Kings 17:8,9).

Now when Elijah got there, he approached the widow and asked for some water to drink and some bread. This widow was not exactly thrilled to see Elijah, and she certainly wasn't overjoyed by his request. In fact, she answered him back, saying, "I don't have any bread. I have only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And I'm gathering up these few sticks to build a fire and make a last meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it and then die" (1 Kings 17:12).

This widow was not in the best of spirits. Actually, she had already resigned herself to dying when this pushy stranger showed up wanting food and water! It was obviously not the best of times for her. And yet she did what Elijah requested. Not only did she and her son live, but sometime later when her son became sick and died, Elijah raised him from the dead! So her kindness paid off too.

It's easy to be kind to people in pleasant circumstances, but what about when the going is hard? Fair-weather kindness should have no place in a Christian's life. Godly kindness is permanent and enduring.

Godly kindness also goes the second mile. Remember Rebekah's act of kindness to Abraham's servant? When he asked for a drink, she volunteered to water his camels as well (Gen. 24:15-19). That was not a very pleasant job, I'm sure.

Rebekah's act of kindness had immediate consequences. First, she was given beautiful jewelry, and then she gained a rich husband from a wealthy family! Rebekah went the second mile and found out that kindness produces results.

We have all read the story of the Good Samaritan who showed kindness to someone who, because of his race, was supposed to be the Samaritan's enemy. Jesus' whole point in telling the story was to say, "Go and do the same."

Being a Good Samaritan simply means being willing to get involved in helping others - in going the second mile to minister to someone in need. That's why Jesus said:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me... Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it NOT to one of the least of these, YE DID IT NOT to me. (Matt. 25:35-40,45)
Acts of kindness are evidence of a genuine relationship with the Lord. When we are kind to those in need, we are actually showing kindness to Christ!

Sometimes you'll hear someone comment, "So-and-so is a real Christian." Almost always, that expression means the person is kind. People associate being kind with being a true Christian. So does Jesus! To those who are not kind, Jesus says, "...Depart from me..." (Matt. 25:41).

Kindness is one of the three essentials the Lord requires of man.
He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and TO LOVE KINDNESS, and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8 RSV)
Zaccheus is an example of what brotherly kindness can do in the life of an unbeliever. In his case, Zaccheus was the recipient of the Lord's kindness (Luke 19:2-10). When Jesus saw Zaccheus perched up in a tree, He invited Himself to Zaccheus' house. That would have been a great honor for anyone, but it was especially so for Zaccheus because he was a tax collector. Tax collectors at that time were not well liked by anyone. Everyone avoided Zaccheus, but Jesus reached out to him in kindness. As a result, Zaccheus' life was totally transformed by the undeserved kindness of Jesus.

If people would just be kind to others, it would go a long way toward winning them to the Lord. It is the kindness of God that leads men to repentance (Rom. 2:4, RSV).

We can also find in the Bible the story of Rahab's kindness to the two spies sent to Jericho by the children of Israel. Her life and the lives of her entire family were spared due to her one act of simple and spontaneous kindness. Jonathan's kindness to David led to his children's preservation after Jonathan had died. Elizabeth kindly received Mary, the mother of Jesus, into her home during Mary's pregnancy.

There are so many examples of kindness that we can learn from in the Bible. Kindness should be one of our highest aims along with walking in love.

Source: What Comes After Faith? by Kenneth Hagin, Jr.
Excerpt permission granted by Faith Library Publications

Author Biography

Kenneth W. Hagin
Web site: Kenneth Hagin Ministries
Kenneth W. Hagin, President of Kenneth Hagin Ministries and pastor of RHEMA Bible Church, ministers around the world. Known for calling the Body of Christ to steadfast faith, he seizes every ministry opportunity to impart an attitude of “I cannot be defeated, and I will not quit.”

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