Kind Like Our Creator
“Though the wicked is shown favor, he does not learn righteousness; he deals unjustly in the land of uprightness, and does not perceive the majesty of the LORD.” (Isaiah 26:10 NASB)
The truth upon which Isaiah’s observation is founded says something significant about the purpose of God’s favor: it is meant to teach me righteousness and show me the majesty of the Lord. The kindness of God is not merely something I receive and for which I am grateful. His kindness is, in fact, the very blessing that enables me to be kind like He is. For this reason, failing to imitate Him in the way He treats those He has created is a failure to “learn” and “perceive” the very character and glory of God. To come to know God, then, is not just to experience His grace but to act righteously, that others may perceive the glory of God that I have beheld.
What is truly amazing, though, is the fact that God has continued to show kindness to those who have not learned righteousness nor perceived His majesty. The apostle Paul extends Isaiah’s thought with another significant truth:
“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 2:4 NASB)
It is the very kindness of God as a response to my unrighteousness and blindness that should prompt me to repent. It is not only the initial grace God gives me but grace in response to my sin that shows me how God is exceedingly righteous. And it is this righteousness He calls me to show to others (Ephesians 4:32). Repentance is not just my ceasing from certain sins that separate me from the Lord. Part of my repentance, the transformative power of the gospel, and my walk in newness of life with God is my practice of being gracious and merciful to His creation, as He is. So just as a failure to exhibit this kindness is to fail in learning righteousness and perceiving the majesty of God, it is also a failure in repenting from my unrighteous ways.
With these thoughts in view, I find kindness to be more profound than a smile and a compliment. Kindness, as defined in the character of God, is a manifestation of His righteousness, in which He gives good things (the best things, to be specific) to those who have given Him no reason to do so. Perhaps it is for this reason that the God who is love defines such as that which “suffers long and is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4 NKJV). The one who repents from unrighteousness, who learns God’s righteousness, and who perceives the majesty of God will hurt deeply and help anyway. The one who shows kindness as God does is the one who is kind when others are not, who does not demand that others “get their act together” before being gracious.
I have a lot to learn, much to perceive, and an incredible reason to repent.
Be kind today, my friends.