2 Timothy 1:8-18
8 So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. 9 For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. 10 And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. 11 And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News. 12 That is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return. 13 Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. 14 Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you. 15 As you know, everyone from the province of Asia has deserted me—even Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. 17 When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me.18 May the Lord show him special kindness on the day of Christ’s return. And you know very well how helpful he was in Ephesus.
So, what does kindness look like? Well in 2 Timothy 1:8-18 we see several characteristics of a kind person:
The first thing that we see is that kind people are sensitive to others. They are aware of the needs of those around them. We need to start paying attention to those around us so that we become aware of their needs. Most of us are not sensitive to the needs of others because we are so focused on self. Sadly we have become a self-sensitive society instead of a service centered one. But selfishness will cause us to become callous to the cares of others instead of concerned. Being sensitive means taking the time to tune in to the needs of others. Kindness always starts with sensitivity. Philippians 2:3-4 says: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” So how sensitive are you to the needs of others? How much time do you spend thinking about self and how much do you spend serving? Kindness always starts with noticing what is going on in other people’s lives. But in order to do that you have to take your eyes of off yourself. Many of us have become so self-absorbed that we barely see those around us. When we go to the store we are usually on a mission but it’s not a mission of mercy but a mission for me. Can I share a sobering fact, everyone you meet this week needs kindness. From the person on the street, to the person sitting in church. Now I want you to realize that all of the people mentioned in this scripture were sensitive, it’s just that some were sensitivity to self and others were sensitive to serving. Paul was in prison and those he had ministered to and poured his life into had deserted him, they were so sensitive to self that they didn’t think about how their actions would affect Paul. But Onesiphorus was different, you see sensitivity opens up our sight to service. What about you, are you sensitive to self or serving? Second not only was he sensitive but he was:
A second characteristic exhibited by kind people is supportiveness. In verse 15 Paul reveals that there were those who deserted him: “As you know, everyone from the province of Asia has deserted me—even Phygelus and Hermogenes.” They chose not to be supportive at a time when Paul was in prison. This was a critical time in Paul’s life, a time when he needed the care and compassion of fellow Christians, especially those he had personally loved and cared for. Why were they not supportive, was it because they were afraid that if they supported Paul and were identified with him that they too might go to prison? Being supportive meant that they would share in Paul’s suffering for the Good News. It’s hard to support others when you are focused on self. In contrast to their callousness we see Onesiphorus in verse 16 selflessly supporting Paul: “May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me.” This involves being supportive not just in what we do but what we say. Do your words build people up or belittling and tear them down? One of the main reasons that marriages fail is because we are not supportive in our speech. Instead of speaking kind words we speak words that kill. Proverbs 15:1 says: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” Nobody likes to be put down. We may sing the silly children’s song, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” But it’s not true, the Bible says that death and life are in the power of the tongue. You can destroy others with what you say to them or you can build them up and bless them. Something as simple as a smile can change a person’s day. How supportive are you with your spouse? When it comes to marriage many of us are competing instead of completing. Instead of kindling our marriages we are killing them. We need to be wise with our words and instead of killing others care for them with kindness. What if you made it your mission to give everyone you meet today an emotional lift of encouragement. Proverbs 3:3 says: “Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.” How supportive are you in your speech? Do you encourage or discourage others with your words? Kindness builds bridges where harsh words build barriers.