In manuscripts the Apostle Paul read in Hebrew, he no doubt understood that in Jewish thinking no one could ever reach the ultimate level of being as kind as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In English, this Hebrew word is often translated as “loving-kindness.” In reading the Old Testament, it quickly becomes apparent that this refers to things and actions that are pleasant and agreeable to our senses; things we feel are excellent in value and quality; ways we describe as appropriate and expected of a person of good ethics and character. To put it another way: it is a kind person doing a loving thing at the right time and for a good reason. Even in that case, who can exceed the LORD God in being kind?
In the New Testament Jesus gives us two of the most insightful and challenging examples of what it means to express love in a way that is both cultured and graceful. Jesus tells His disciples, “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you are only kind to those who are kind to you, why should you get recognition, even sinners do as much.”1
It’s clear that Jesus expected those who profess to be His followers to go out of their way to be kind. Often while at work, I would hear that someone needed a ride. So I quickly contacted them and offered to take them wherever they needed to go. But they would kindly refuse by saying, “Oh no, I don’t want you to go out of your way.” I always responded, “But that’s the joy of taking you there because it is out of my way. Would I be doing you any favor if where you needed to go was on my regular route? Besides, it’s a blessing only when it is out of the way.” For our love to be graceful, it must express itself in such a way that people will see us as cultured Christians. Not haughty or stuck-up, but a person who always gives their best and does their best for others in need. – Dr. Robert R Seyda.
1 Luke 6:32-33