To be kind, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, means to have a sympathetic or helpful nature. It also indicates gentleness, compassion and affection. Kindness is different than niceness. It goes deeper – it’s a genuine reflection of the heart. Niceness can be helpful, but kindness is a result of a heart in the right place.

We are surrounded by God’s kindness every day. Evidence of his kindness shows in our lives, in the Bible and in his character. Jesus set the ultimate example of kindness with his life. Following his example can be difficult, but God calls and equips believers to be kind. With this understanding of how important kindness is to God and in how we interact with the world, let’s check out Bible verses about kindness.

God’s Kindness

The kindness of God is our starting place for a holistic view of kindness. He made us for community with himself and other people. For any community to thrive, there must be kindness.

From God’s loving kindness, we start to understand how securely loved we are by God, and in that security, we can reach out to those we come across who need a reminder of kindness in their lives.

“But let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.

— Jeremiah 9:24, NIV

Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.

— Acts 14:17, NIV

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

— Ephesians 2:7, NIV

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

— Romans 2:4, NIV

“In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer.

— Isaiah 54:8, NIV

Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.

— Psalm 119:76, ESV

They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them

— Nehemiah 9:17, NIV

Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.

— Psalm 117:1-2, NIV

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

— Isaiah 54:10, NIV

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.

— Romans 11:22, NIV

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. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

— Titus 3:4, NIV

But show me unfailing kindness like the LORD’s kindness as long as I live.

— 1 Samuel 20:14a, NIV

Praise be to the LORD, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege.

— Psalm 31:21, NIV

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.

— Joel 2:13, NIV

Young child leaning against wall

Where to Direct Kindness

We know God calls Christians to be kind, but sometimes we struggle with knowing what that kindness looks like in everyday life. Where are we supposed to direct our kindness? And to whom? The short answer is to be kind to everyone. But here are some specific examples from scripture for clarity.

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. 

— Galatians 6:10, ESV

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”

— Luke 6:35, NIV

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

— Acts 20:35, NIV

Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.

— Proverbs 11:17, NIV

“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”

— Leviticus 19:34, NIV

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

— Matthew 7:12, NIV

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

— Luke 6:31, NIV

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

— Hebrews 13:2, NIV

A woman smiling with her children

Where to Direct Kindness — People Living in Poverty

There are a wide range of ways to show kindness to people living in poverty. At Compassion International, we see different forms of this kindness every day.

Our frontline church partners show kindness to the children in the program by pouring into their lives and encouraging them.

  • Sponsors show kindness by writing letters to the children they sponsor, praying for them and supporting them.
  • Volunteers donate their time.
  • Compassion Sunday® hosts speak for those who can’t speak for themselves (Proverbs 31:8).

No effort of kindness toward children in poverty is wasted.

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.

— Proverbs 19:17, NIV

“Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.”

— Zechariah 7:10, NIV

It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor, but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy.

— Proverbs 14:21, NIV

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.

— Proverbs 21:21, NIV

But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?

— 1 John 3:17, ESV

Examples of Kindness in the Bible

The Bible touches on every facet of life. Among the bustle of life, mistakes and miracles, there are also many times people in the Bible showed each other acts of kindness. Here are a few.

“The LORD bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.” Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.’”

— Ruth 2:20-21, NIV

“The LORD bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor.”

— Ruth 3:10, NIV

The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold.

— Acts 28:2, NIV

May it be that when I say to a young woman, “Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,” and she says, “Drink, and I’ll water your camels too” — let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.

— Genesis 24:14, NIV

Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign.

— Joshua 2:12, NIV

Then he prayed, “LORD, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.”

— Genesis 24:12, NIV

David thought, “I will show kindness to Hanun son of Nahash, because his father showed kindness to me.” So David sent a delegation to express his sympathy to Hanun concerning his father.

— 1 Chronicles 19:2a, NIV

“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “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 Samuel 9:7, NIV

Small child getting help to drink water

Ways To Be Kind

Kindness is one of the ways you can tell from a person’s life if they are a follower of Christ. As we read in Galatians, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (5:22-23, NIV).

Kindness should come naturally to us, but sometimes we need extra encouragement or ideas to get us started. Here are some examples from the Bible of ways to be kind.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

— Romans 12:15, NIV

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

— Ephesians 4:32, NIV

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

— Colossians 3:12-13, NIV

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

— 1 Peter 3:8-9, ESV

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

— 1 Peter 3:8-9, NIV

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

— Matthew 5:7, NIV

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.

— 2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

— 1 Thessalonians 5:15, NIV

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

— 1 John 3:18, ESV

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

— Romans 12:10, NIV

“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.”

— Luke 6:30, NIV

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

— 1 Corinthians 13:4, NIV

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

— Ephesians 4:29, NIV

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8, NIV

Let a righteous man strike me — that is a kindness; let him rebuke me — that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers.

— Psalm 141:5, NIV

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

— 1 Peter 4:8, NIV

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

— Galatians 5:13, NIV

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

— Proverbs 12:25, NIV

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