The Power of Kindness and FaithfulnessSeptember 17, 2021 - 12:00 am
This Devotional's Hebrew Word
“Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for;— Proverbs 16:6
through the fear of the LORD evil is avoided.”
We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.
From a young age, my parents were very clear about the importance of giving to the needy. As soon as we had any source of our own money, they taught my sisters and me the biblical principle of the tithe — giving ten percent of our money to charity (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26). So when we earned babysitting money, we automatically set aside a tenth of what we made for charitable giving.
But my parents were not interested in merely teaching us to give our money to charity. Their real goal was for us to become generous people — people who looked past our own desires and concerns and saw the needs and challenges of others. There was no better way to teach us this lesson than through their living example.
When we act selflessly, we draw ourselves closer to God. We imitate God when we put others first. After all, God has no needs. Everything He does is selfless. And animals, who are not created in God’s image, are primarily motivated by their own needs and desires. My parents wanted us to be less self-centred and more godly.
The Power of Kindness and Faithfulness
When Proverbs teaches that love and faithfulness atone for sin, the Hebrew word for love in this verse is chesed, which is also the word for “kindness” and “selflessness.” Some people understand this verse as saying that if we are loving and faithful, God will forgive us and wash away our sins as a reward. But I think there is a deeper message here about the power of kindness and faithfulness.
Kindness is the opposite of selfishness. Faithfulness is, simply, the opposite of faithlessness. Now think about why people sin. The first two sins in the Bible are the best examples. Adam and Eve gave in to their own desires and ate from the tree. They forgot about God. That’s why, after they sinned, they were ashamed because they once again heard the voice of God in the garden. Later, when Cain murdered Abel, he did it because he was selfish and arrogant. His own ego mattered more than the life of his brother.
Kindness and faithfulness are the opposite of sin. Kindness means that we are putting other people before ourselves. Faithfulness means that we live with an awareness of God at all times. Proverbs teaches that the power of kindness and faithfulness can cleanse us by taking away the root causes of sin. They restore the image of God within us.
Your turn: Think about someone in your life who could use an act of kindness today.