2 Timothy 1:15-18
You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus,because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17 On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18 May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.
So from a practical stand point what does kindness look like? In 2 Timothy 1:15-18 we see a Believer named Onesiphorus who lived out a love that was kind to the Apostle Paul at one of the more difficult times in his life. It’s here in 2 Timothy 1 that we see several characteristics of a kind person.
First, 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. So how sensitive are you? We are all sensitive, the problem is that many of us are sensitive to self not to serving. That is why we live in a culture where people are so easily offended. We are not sensitive to the needs of others because we have become so self-sensitive that we are callous to the cares of others. 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.” Philippians 2:3-4. How sensitive are you to the needs of others, how much time do you spend thinking about self and how much do you spend on 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 the pew at 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 he was focused on serving not self. Sensitivity opens up our sight to service. Jesus was so sensitive to the people around him that in the midst of a crowd of people while he was on mission to save a little girl he still felt the touch of a broken woman. He not only healed her physically but took the time to heal her emotionally as he listened to her story. That’s kindness in action. Jesus reminds us that we are never too busy or too important to be kind. But its hard to be sensitive because we see the hurts and deal with the brokenness. Sure emotionally it’s easier to be calloused Christian and not care but who does a calloused Christian really represent, the Savior or satan? 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. This involves being supportive not just in what we do but what we say. Do your words build people up or belittling and tearing them down? One of the main reasons that marriages fail is because we are not supportive in our speech. Instead of speaking kindly our speech kills. 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, names do hurt! Labels hurt! In fact, 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. Use your words wisely, instead of killing people with your words be kind. Give everyone you meet an emotional lift, encourage them and be supportive. Proverbs 3:3 says: “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.” How supportive are you in your speech? Do you encourage or discourage others with your words? Because where kindness is a bridge builder harsh words are a bridge burner.