“To be kind is to lay aside your own desires and seek the good of another.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 30, 2022
What is desired in a man is kindness, and a poor man is better than a liar. Proverbs 19:22, NKJV
Our culture is filled with competing images of manhood. On the one hand, we see the stereotypical “macho man,” appealing to a primitive and primal urge within mankind. This man is raw power, destroying everyone and everything that stands in his way as he forcibly climbs his way to the top. Often in response to this extreme, testosterone-fueled ideal, we see an alternative vision of manhood that is both sensitive and serene. Increasingly we celebrate this form of revised masculinity and the many forms of self-expression that it may take.
While there is goodness and even truth in both of these visions, for me they both suffer from the same sickness of self-indulgence and self-absorption. Whatever the external form may take, the root sickness is still a love of self and preoccupation with one’s own needs, wants, and desires. The sin of selfishness can be bold and proclaimed for all to see, or can be whispered in the gentlest of voices. Scripture, however, invites us to consider a third option.
Though rarely celebrated in our world, Proverbs reminds us that kindness is one of the defining traits of true manhood. “What is desired in a man?” This is the question of Proverbs 19, and is a question to be asked of ourselves (if a man), or of the men in your life. Wealth, power, strength, influence, artistry, self-awareness, and confidence may all come to mind. Yet what about kindness? Does it top your list?
Kindness is so much more than being nice or polite to someone. To be kind is to lay aside your own desires and seek the good of another. Kindness is the death of self-fulfillment for it finds its fulfillment in the love and care for someone else. It is for this reason that we celebrate the kindness of God, seen most clearly in Jesus Christ. As St. Paul reminds us, it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Christ was neither manipulative nor a pushover, but was the most perfect example of kindness that has ever lived. Why? Because every action he ever took was oriented towards our healing and reconciliation with the Father.
In this way, Christ reveals to us true manhood. Kindness is so desirable and desperately needed because it is our joining in the reconciling work of God’s kingdom. Regardless of the external expression or ways each man chooses to embody this virtue, it must be the aim and pursuit of every man, choosing daily to seek the good of others, pointing them to Christ just as he perfectly pointed us back to the Father.
Father, help us to value and celebrate the virtue of kindness, and to see it as a defining reality of genuine manhood, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayerfully reflect upon the question posed in Proverbs 19: What is desired in a man?
Chris Tomlin: Kindness
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