The spiritual person is kind. He never practices cruelty in any of its forms, but is always gentle in his relations with others. Kindness, according to the Apostle Paul, is also a “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal 5.22).
According to the scriptures, God Himself is kind. For all of His anger and wrath over the sins of men, the Lord is “kind to the ungrateful and selfish” (Lk 6.35).
For great is His merciful kindness toward us; and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever (Ps 117.2; cf. Pss 31.21,119.76).
Christians are urged to follow God in His kindness and to do all things gently and with tenderness. Especially when rebuking and correcting others, the spiritual person must be kind.
. . . the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, forbearing; correcting one’s opponents with gentleness . . . (2 Tim 2.24; cf. Gal 6.1).
Parents especially are urged not to “provoke their children to anger” by unkindness and cruelty (Eph 6.4, Col 3.21).
Very often it happens that people can be kind to strangers and to those with whom they have but a passing and casual relationship, but with persons with whom the relationship is longer and deeper—family, relatives, co-workers, fellow members in the same church community—it is sometimes assumed that they may be unkind, and that they even have a certain right to act carelessly and with harshness. This is a great temptation. Familiarity and everyday contact do not give one the right to act unkindly or to behave crudely. To those closest and nearest, the need for continual gentleness, tenderness and kindness in every action and word is especially necessary. There can be no excuse for insensitivity and harshness, whatever the relationship. Spiritual persons must “do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6.10).
. . . for we are members one of another. Be angry, but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil (cf. Ps 4).… Let no evil talk come out of your mouth, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear . . . Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you (Eph 4.26–32).
Kindness does not mean overlooking people’s sins; it means forgiving them. Kindness also does not mean “being nice” to everyone, whoever they are and whatever they do. It does not mean “going along” with others in every way. A kind person will correct others, if need be, and his very kindness will be shown by his care and concern for the well-being of his fellow creature “for whom Christ died” (Rom 14.15).
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother (Mt 18.15).
The correction by a kind person is never with contempt or cruelty. It never ridicules, demeans or condemns. It always encourages and edifies with gentleness and understanding.