Many depict God as someone other than the loving, caring and compassionate God that we know. They come to this negative depiction because they blame God for the countless number of people suffering and dying due to hunger, war and all kinds of calamities. But while our God is actually loving, caring and compassionate, he is also just. The apostle Paul described God appropriately when he said, “Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again” (Rom. 11:22-23). The justice of God demands that sin is dealt with accordingly. Many are suffering today because the penalty of sin is death.
While we may find ourselves embroiled in sin, we can find hope in the kindness of God. The apostle Paul wrote, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:4-5). The kindness of God is willing to overlook our sins and transgressions. In fact, we are further told that “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). We were not deserving of anything but death because of our sins, but God’s kindness saved us.
Kindness is being generous, caring, sympathetic and considerate. We are kind because we consider and value the lives of others. This was the reason why God saved the people of Nineveh. He said to Jonah, “ And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” (Jonah 4:11) If Jonah had his way, he would rather see the people of Nineveh suffer the consequence of their sins. He revealed the reason why he refused to obey the Lord’s command for him to warn Nineveh of the coming judgment when he said, “Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity” (Jonah 4:2). Because Nineveh responded to the warning that Jonah eventually gave, the people were saved.
It can be gleaned from Jonah’s story that the kindness of God brings repentance. But though God is kind, there is also a need to consider his sternness. As far as sin is concerned, God is firm and uncompromising. This is the justice of God. He wants that we continue living in his kindness, but the moment that we persist in unbelief and continue to live in sin, his sternness demands that we be cut off. The apostle Paul used Israel’s experience as an example. While Israel was chosen by God, he cut them off due to their unbelief and hardened hearts. However, the kindness of God is able to restore. The apostle Paul said of Israel’s restoration, “And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!” (Rom. 11:23-24).
The kindness of God was fully displayed when King David restored Mephibosheth, the crippled son of his friend Jonathan. After he was firmly established as king of Israel, David asked if there was anyone left of King Saul’s family to whom he can show the kindness of God, for the sake of Jonathan. While King Saul was supposed to be an enemy of King David, God’s kindness does not keep a record of wrongs. When Mephibosheth appeared before him, King David said, “Don’t be afraid for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” (2 Sam. 9:7). David treated him as his own son. Amazed at the grace of God, Mephibosheth responded, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” (2 Sam. 9:8)
We were once like Mephiboshet—crippled by sin and like a dead dog, for we were dead in sins and trespasses. However, the kindness of God led us to repentance and we were saved through our Lord Jesus Christ. We were restored and now have this amazing relationship with Him. He gave us the right to become his children and he is our Father. It is the kindness of God that saved us. Hallelujah!