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“Love Is Kind”

A Short Commentary On 1 Corinthians 13:4[b]

by Dr. Eitan Bar
2 minutes read

Kindness is the act of showing compassion, generosity, and consideration towards others, often involving selfless actions and a genuine concern for their well-being. It encompasses gestures of goodwill, such as offering help, expressing empathy, and treating people with respect and understanding. At its core, kindness reflects an inner attitude of love and humanity, transcending mere politeness to embody genuine care and support for others, regardless of circumstances.

In the early Christian community, Paul’s emphasis on kindness was a call to countercultural and social norms that often valued power and status over generosity and service. By stating that “love is kind,” Paul was not only providing a moral guideline but also radically redefining what it means to live in a community—shifting focus from self-interest to selfless love.

This call to kindness is vividly illustrated in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. His kindness was not contingent on what others could give him; rather, it was a free outpouring of his love, culminating in his ultimate sacrifice on the cross. Jesus embodied kindness by healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and, ultimately, offering himself for the salvation of mankind. His life demonstrated that true kindness involves sacrifice and a relentless focus on the needs of others.

When we reflect on the lives of those around us, the contrast between self-centeredness and selflessness becomes clear. A wealthy individual who hoards resources reflects a life driven by self-interest, which stands in stark contrast to someone who, despite having little, shares generously.

For those who follow Christ, embodying kindness involves embracing generosity not just in material terms but also in how we invest our time and energy. Generosity encompasses not only resources but also, among other things, time, energy, knowledge, and kindness. It challenges us to consider how we interact with others, prompting us to ask whether our actions contribute to the flourishing of our communities. This form of kindness is transformative, capable of breaking down barriers and building bridges even with those considered adversaries.

Recognizing kindness involves generosity; imagine what our society would look like if generosity were to vanish from our economic systems. The impact would be profound and detrimental. Charitable organizations play a crucial role in supporting those in need. Without donations and volunteer efforts, many of these organizations would struggle to survive, leading to an increase in poverty rates. Generosity helps to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, providing resources for education, job training, and other opportunities that enable upward mobility. Without these, the rich would get richer, and the poor would get poorer, leading to a more divided and unstable society.

Generosity, as taught and exemplified by Jesus, is a cornerstone of a healthy, functioning society and economy. It alleviates poverty, reduces inequality, and fosters a sense of community and mutual support. Without generosity, our economy would become more unequal, our social services would deteriorate, and our communities would grow more fragmented and unstable.

Thus, “Love is kind” is a timeless principle that calls for a radical reorientation of our hearts and minds toward active, selfless generosity. It encourages a life where personal resources are not merely possessions to be guarded but gifts to be shared for the greater good. In living out this kind of love, we not only follow the example set by Christ but also contribute to a more compassionate world, one kind act at a time.

This article is from my book, “The Theology of Love: Christianity’s Most Underrated Doctrine.

The Theology of Love

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Dr. Eitan Bar
Author, Theologian, Activist