Series Introduction

The Bible teaches us that the things that come out of our mouth are a reflection of what is happening inside of us.  We might think the things that we say don’t really matter, but if we’re honest, they point to what is going on inside.

So we thought it might be a good idea to focus on a few positive four letter words, words that—if they get inside of us—could change the way we react and relate to each other, even the way we see our lives.


Introduction

What do you think of when you think of the word “kind”?

Gentle? Nice? Thoughtful? Generous? Compassionate?

That would make the opposite of kind mean, self-centered, rude, apathetic, cruel, critical, and harsh?

Gene kicked off week one of this series talking about how we are never better than when we are leading LOVE-driven lives.  Being KIND is simply putting that love in action. 

Kindness is not a feeling to be felt or an emotional to be internalized, kindness is something that you do. It’s something practical.

Mark Twain reportedly said that “Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Kindness is love demonstrated.  It’s love with hands and feet and a smile and maybe even a tear attached.

  • What is one kind thing you’ve been able to do for someone recently? What prompted you to do it?

  • What is one kind thing someone else has done for you recently? How did that act of kindness make you feel?


Understanding

Have you noticed that KIND people are way too rare in our culture?  Drive on the freeways, read social media, or visit Costco on a Saturday, and you’re unlikely to see a great deal of kindness on display.

It’s a competitive, fast-paced, road-raged, dog eat dog world out there, where all kinds of four letter words get thrown around.  And that’s why God wants you and me to have kindness living deep within us.

  • How can we cultivate kindness in our own lives?

Have a volunteer read 2 Samuel 9.

For many years before David became king, he was on the hit-list of Saul, the previous king. David was forced to live on the run, hiding in rocks and caves to keep from being killed.

David had had plenty of opportunities to be hardened, to build up calluses around his heart, to be selfish, prideful, rude, apathetic, harsh, but in this story we see that while David was tough and rugged on the outside, he was also KIND on the inside. 

  • David hadn’t done anything wrong or anything against Saul, but for years he was still the object of Saul’s murderous obsession. Put yourself in David’s shoes. How would this have shaped your character?

Remember how GRIT is internal toughness that relies on the grace and power of God? When you have that combination, you become you become known as someone who is KIND.

David’s best friend was a guy named Jonathan, and what was so intriguing about their friendship was that Saul was Jonathan’s dad.

Jonathan knew that David would be the next king, that he would take over the throne from his increasingly unreasonable, irrational, even evil father, and Jonathan protected David from Saul.

Jonathan and David had the kind of friendship that God longs for each one of us to have: a call at 3 AM, tell me the truth, laugh with me, cry with me, know my secret fears and struggles kind of friend. They became like brothers, but then Jonathan dies in battle.

  • Have you ever had a friendship like Jonathan and David’s? If so, what was it that caused that level of friendship to develop?

When we reach this story Jonathan and Saul are both dead, and David is now the king.  One day a little grief sneaks up on him.  It’s hard to lose a close friend or loved one like that.  It leaves a void, an ache in your heart. Heaven is real and this life is short compared to eternity, but it still leaves a void.

David undoubtedly felt this void and asks if anyone in Jonathan’s family is still alive because he wants to honor his friend.  He finds out that one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive. Now, to us the fact that Mephibosheth has a physical disability isn’t that relevant.  But in David’s time it would have made him be seen as almost less than human.  To top it off Mephibosheth lives in Lo Debar, which literally translated means “land of nothing.”  In other words Mephibosheth was a nobody living in the middle of nowhere.

More than that, as the heir of a deposed king, David should have wanted to kill Mephibosheth and his entire family to wipe out any attempt at a coup.

But to David, Mephibosheth wasn’t a threat and wasn’t a nobody. He was the son of David’s best friend.  So David extended kindness to Mephibosheth, restoring his ancestors’ land to him and inviting him to live at the palace like one of David’s own sons.

  • What do you think you would have done if you had been in David’s place?

Have a volunteer read Romans 2:1-4 and Galatians 5:22-23.

Acts 13:22 calls David a man after God’s heart, and these two passages teach us that God is kind and that His Spirit will produce kindness in us.  In other words, to be kind is to be like God.

Sensitivity

A lot of us have trouble being sensitive to people even after we become aware of their needs, but David was so sensitive he went looking for someone with a need.

There are Mephibosheths all around us, people who—for many different reasons—are walking with a limp.  That limp might be physical, emotional, social, or spiritual, but regardless, they need someone to notice them, to include them, to be kind to them.

  • Who is someone in your life that needs you to extend kindness to them?

Spontaneity

So often we overcomplicate things.  We want to plan and strategize and figure out if we can really do it. We use “prudent planning” or “waiting to be led by God” as a convenient excuse for withholding kindness.  Or maybe we let our own busyness or our own priorities get in the way of extending kindness in the moment.

Here are a few ways of extending kindness:

  • Leave an extra large tip for a server who looks like they’re having a rough day.

  • Ask the person next to you at the bar how they’re doing.

  • Call an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time.

  • Drop off a small gift to someone to let them know they’re cared for.

  • Visit a friend in the hospital… even if you don’t know what to say.

  • Welcome a troubled teenager into your home.

  • Leave quarters in a sandbox for a kid to find.

  • Say hello to someone you don’t know in the lobby at church.

  • Help stock a food pantry.

  • Gather clothing, furniture, blankets, toys, or money to give to people in need.

  • Help facilitate a care and recovery group to support those touched by divorce, suicide, grief, addiction, or wounds.

  • What excuses do you tend to use as reasons for not extending kindness in the moment?  How can you begin to rid yourself of those excuses?

  • What is one practical thing you can do this week to show kindness to someone else?

Sacrifice

Kindness always has a price tag attached.

David graciously takes all of the land and all of the possessions of the ex-king Saul, which were now rightfully David’s and gives them back to Mephibosheth.  He appoints Ziba and his 15 sons and 20 servants to wait on Mephibosheth hand and foot. And then to top it all off he pays a personal cost every day by inviting Mephiboseth to sit at his own royal table for the rest of his life as one of his adoptive sons.

It would have been so easy for David to just ease his conscience by simply sending payments for Mephiboseth’s rent or to give him like an acre out there in the middle of nowhere. He could have sent him meals on holidays or a card at Passover. He could have set up a little trust fund for him, and sent the interest check once a month.

But David personally sacrificed himself, his home, his cash, and his own family, because he was KIND.

Former NBA MVP Kevin Durant talked about the sacrifices his mom made when he was a kid, how she would go without food so her kids could eat.  20/20 did a story about a woman in California whose finance gave her one of his kidneys.

Those acts of kindness had a cost attached.  Kindness always has a price tag.  Sometimes it’s simply a few moments of time.  Sometimes it’s a willingness to go hungry or to give up a kidney.  Sometimes it’s money, comfort, or personal preference.

  • What are some of the ways others have sacrificed for you?

  • What are some practical ways that you can honor their sacrifice by sacrificing for others?