Text: Colossians 3:12, Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Theme: A choice to put on the attitude of kindness.

Notice the word "clothe". The Greek word literally means put on. When you wake up in the morning and decide what to wear, you should ask yourself, "What kind of attitude am I going to wear today?"

Paul says kindness is a choice. It's something you can choose to "put on" everyday.

Kindness is love in action. Kindness is something you do. It's a practical expression of love. It's visible and active, not just emotional.

Now, why should we be kind? Two reasons:

1.  We should be kind because God is kind to us.
  Ephesians 2:8, "Because of His kindness you have been saved through trusting Christ." (LB)
  Grace and kindness always go together.

2.  We should be kind because we want others to be kind to us.
  Matt. 7:12, "Do to others what you would have them do to you."
Prov. 21:21, "Be kind and honest and you will love a long life; others will respect you and treat you fairly." (GNB)
Prov. 11:17, "Your own soul is nourished when you are kind; it is destroyed when you are cruel." (LB)

What does it mean to be a kind person? How can we become kinder? We are going to look at five characteristics of a kind person.

I.  A kind Person Is Sensitive To Others
A.  He is aware of the needs of the people around him.
     1.  Phil. 2:4 says, "Each of you should "look" not to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."
Kindness always starts with noticing the needs and hurts of others.

It is impossible to be "sensitive" to the needs of others and selfish at the same time.

B.  Often in relationships (i.e. marriages, friendships, etc.) the root of many problems is insensitivity.
1.  Insensitivity manifests itself in many ways:
     a.  We have become calloused.
     b.  We have stopped listening.

C.  We find an example of sensitivity and kindness in the life of King David as recorded in 2 Samuel 9.
     1.  Notice David's words in verse 7.
     2.  Point of the story is this: David actively looked for people to be kind to.

II. A Kind Person Is Supportive
A.  One of the best ways to be "supportive" is by your speech.
     1. Building people up rather than tearing them down.
     2.  Watch what you say to people.
     3.  Speak kindly, Prov. 15:4 says, "Kind words bring life, but cruel
          words crush your spirit" (GNB).

You can develop (support) or destroy a person with what you say to them!

B.  Prov. 10:32: "Righteous people know the kind thing to say, but the wicked are always saying things to hurt" (GNB).
1.  Righteous people say the right things. It's always right to be kind!

Kind people don't embarrass others.

C.  How supportive are you with your words?
     1.  Do you encourage or discourage with your words?
     2.  Do you brag on your kids or do you nag them?
     3.  Do you lift up or tear down?

  If God gave you a dollar for every kind word you said and took away a dollar for every unkind word you said, would you be rich or poor?

D.  Joseph is a good example of a man who spoke kind words.
     1. See Gen. 50:19-21
     2.  Kind words can "cure" a lot of relational problems. Do you support or
          sabotage relationships by your speech?

  Think Before You Speak

E.  Contemplate before you communicate.
     1.  See Proverbs 16:23.
     2.  Good News Translation says, "Intelligent people think before they
          speak. What they say is then more persuasive."
     3. Consider the consequences of our communication.

A Kind Person Is Sympathetic
A.  A third characteristic of a kind person is the ability to be sympathetic.
     1.  When someone is experiencing a crisis and you don't know what to
          say, you don't have to say anything.
     2.  Just being there is an expression of kindness.
B.  Romans 12:15 says, "When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad share their sorrow" (LB).
1.  Strong Christians are strong enough to be sympathetic.
     2.  In 2 Timothy 2:24, Paul says that kindness is a mark of spiritual
C.  The supreme example of a sympathetic person is Jesus.
     1.  In John 11:35 we read that Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus.
     2.  Jesus was not afraid to show emotion.
     3.  Jesus is the embodiment of kindness.

You MUST be kind if you want to be like Christ.

IV.  A Kind Person Is Straight Forward.
A.  Sometimes kindness means being candid.
     1.  Friends are candid.
     2.  Friends care enough to tell you the truth.
B.  Proverbs 24:26 (GN). "An honest answer is the sign of true friendship."

A true friend will tell you NOT what you want to hear, but what you need to hear!

C.  We tend to sugarcoat kindness. We don't realize that sometimes kindness means telling the painful truth.
     1.  Kindness is caring enough to confront.
D.  A biblical example of confrontation is found in Galatians 2.
     1.  How do you know when to confront? How do you know when to
          be tough rather than tender with people? Ask yourself two questions:
            a.  Am I really committed to this person's best interest?
            b.  Do I plan to stick around and help my friend work on the change?

Kindness involves a commitment to others whom you care about.

 Sometimes kindness means being straightforward - caring enough to confront and saying, "I'm not going to let you destroy yourself. I'm not going to sit quietly and watch you mess up your life."

E.  Rules for being candid
     1.  Compliment in public.
     2.  Confront in private.
     3,  Correct when up.
     4.  Comfort when down.

V.  A Kind Person Is Spontaneous
A.  Don't wait to show kindness. Do it while you have the opportunity.
     1.  Do it now. Be Spontaneous.
B.  Look at Galatians 6:10, "As we have opportunity, let us do good to
     all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers."
1.  Notice the phrase "as we have opportunity."
     2.  When should we be kind? Whenever we have the opportunity!

When it comes to kindness, good intentions don't count.

     3.  Scripture says when you've got the opportunity to be kind, be
           spontaneous. and do it.
C.  The classic example in spontaneous kindness in Scripture is the
      Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-35). Notice the "Ministry of Kindness
      in this parable:
1.  Compassion v. 33
          a.  "...and when he saw him he had compassion on him."
b.  Remember, compassion's conduct is kindness.
     2.  Contact v. 34
          a.  "And went to him..."
b.    Kindness is active not passive.
          c.  It is not just "emotional."
     3.  Care v. 34
          a.  "...and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine and set
               him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and
               took care of him.
b.  Kindness is practical and personal.
     4.  Cost v. 35
          a.  "...take care of him and whatsoever thou spendest more,
                when I come again I will repay thee."
b.  Kindness costs!
          c.  When the Samaritan saw the need, he didn't think twice. He
               dropped everything. He was spontaneous.

Here's the point: Jesus told us this story to remind us of all the people who are hurting around us. The question we must ask ourselves is: What is my excuse for not helping them? Why am I not a kind person?

The number one enemy of kindness is busyness!

VI.  Consider How To Be Kind
     A.  Answer this question. How specifically can I be kinder this week?
          1.  Kindness starts with sensitivity, so be aware. Open your eyes and
               look around.
           2.  Our world is filled with people who need kindness.
     B.  There are many ways to show kindness as there are people who need
           it. Let me suggest a project for you this week.
          1.  Make a list of seven people to whom you can be kind.
          2.  Write down how you can show kindness to each of them.
          3.  Ask God to give you opportunity to show kindness to at least one
               of these people each day this week.
          4.  You'll be surprised how good this will make you feel. And you will
               probably find yourself exceeding your quota.

It's an interesting fact of history that the Romans confused the Greek word "christos" (Christ), with the word "chrestos," which means "kind".  See how many people you can confuse this week.

Conclusion: Five characteristics of Kind People:
          1.  Sensitive to the needs of others.
          2.  Supportive.
          3.  Sympathetic.
          4.  Straightforward.
          5.  Spontaneous.


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