Humility and kindness are two words that everyone admires, but are rarely put into practice. Nowadays, it seems that no one has the time or patience to think of anyone except themselves. Instead of lending a helping hand, people would rather look the other way. Indeed, we live in a world of boastfulness, selfishness, and downright apathy. But as followers of Christ, this is not the attitude we are meant to live by. We are called to be humble and kind, even when the world around us is cruel and inconsiderate. So what does it mean to be humble and kind? First, let’s look at humility.
Humility means swallowing our pride and knowing our place in the world. We should not boast in our own strength, but in Christ alone. We are all sinful, and we all fall short of the glory of God. Understanding this, we should seek not to be applauded by others, but to give all the credit to God in everything we do. Reread the previous verse; humility does not mean that we have to neglect our own needs.
But it does mean that, in non-dire situations, we should consider the needs of others to be more important. It has often been said, “Jesus first, others second,ourselves last”, and this is precisely the mindset that we should have in our daily lives.
What about kindness? Kindness goes further than mere manners. Of course, we should always be polite and treat others with respect. But we believe in a God who treats us with far more than a civil benevolence – He treats us with love. And just as He loved us, we are called to love those around us. Furthermore, kindness means loving not only our friends, but our enemies, as well. It may be difficult, but as we grow in our relationship with God, we will learn to forgive and do good even to those who hurt us.
Next, let’s look at why we should be humble and kind. The most obvious answer is this: because Jesus was, and we are meant to live like Jesus. His mercy toward the last, the lost, and the least is the same mercy we should be showing to all whom we encounter. Extending compassion to our neighbors has positive effects on us, as well. If we truly love God, we will find joy in helping others. Kindness not only benefits those who are helped, but also brings fulfillment and satisfaction to the helper, as well.
Luke 14:11 says, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” In the end, God does not reward the arrogant and the selfish, but the humble and the kind. Therefore, we should always strive to live by the words of Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”