Some people are incredibly kind and compassionate in the way they consistently treat others; however, due to the surface similarity of the two, the depth of difference between kindness and compassion can be overlooked.
While kindness is a spirit of benevolence that reflects our concern for others and the friendly and generous ways we treat people, compassion, is the spirit of mercy that motivated the Good Samaritan. He was moved to lay aside hatred and to cross social barriers to help the badly-beaten man who had been left for dead.
You can be kind without being compassionate, but, I don’t think you can be seen as compassionate without also being kind. In Ephesians, Paul instructs the believer to practice both: You must put away all bitterness, anger, wrath, quarreling, and slanderous talk—indeed all malice. Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you (4:31-32).
How can you begin to live a life of kindness and compassion? I suggest you place a bookmark at Philippians 2:3-4, and use it as a reference point. Read it frequently and follow its principles faithfully. To get started ask yourself some questions from this verse:
- What is it that motivates me?
- Am I known more for selfish ambition or humility?
- If I treated myself the way I treat others, would I be pleased with my actions?
- Am I too self-consumed to show concern for the plight of others?
I share the words that follow, as a prayer for today and as a conclusion to this discussion:
Lord, help me to love with both words and deeds,
To reach out to others and meet their needs;
Lord, burden my heart for those lost in sin,
With mercy and love that flows from within. ~Fitzhugh