Love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity. 2 An essential element or component of this love is kindness. Jesus was and is the perfect example of one who is kind. The Book of Mormon teaches that even though he was judged to be a thing of naught, scourged, smitten and spat upon, he suffered it because of “his loving kindness and his longsuffering towards the children of men.” 3 Can we imagine him pleading with everlasting kindness “Father spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life”? 4
Kindness is more than just refraining from being unkind and it is more than just doing charitable deeds. Kindness is a state of mind, an attribute within us that leads us to think and become like Christ in every way, possessing the very same attributes of love and kindness that He has and ultimately manifesting these attributes through charitable thoughts and kind acts of service and love.
The Africa Southeast Area Plan has as one of its main objectives “encourage all members to reach out in love and service to one another, their neighbors and their community.” 5 How do we reach out in love and service to others?
First, we should watch what we say and how we say it. We have been encouraged to 'oft speak kind words to each other'. 6 Sometimes, especially in our families, we can let pride and unkindness govern our tongues and speak words that cause pain to those who should be most dear to us.
Let us do all we can to speak soft, gentle and kind words, to think before we speak and to uplift and edify wherever we go. Perhaps we can ask ourselves after every encounter with others, did I uplift and edify the person I was speaking to? Are they better because of me? Have I helped them grow just a little closer to the Saviour?
Second, we can serve others. One of the poems quoted by President Monson reads:
“I have wept in the night
For the shortness of sight
That to somebody’s need made me blind
But I never have yet
Had a tinge of regret
For being a little too kind.” 8
Third, we can do more to rescue our fellow brothers and sisters who have lost their way. At the April 2016 General Conference, as I sat in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City listening to the words of prophets and apostles, the Spirit whispered to me that it was time to do something more for members of our family who had wandered from the path of discipleship and were out of the church. Upon returning home, I mentioned this experience to my wife who shared that she too had felt the Spirit communicate during conference that we needed to act on behalf of these family members.
My dear brothers and sisters, as we seek to rescue those that are lost the Holy Ghost will tell us what to do and when to do it. As President Monson has repeatedly taught, “when we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to His help.” 10
I witness that Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer lives, that His kindness is everlasting and that He loves us perfectly. I know as we speak kind words, serve those in need and rescue those that are lost, we like those we serve will feel the sweet influence of the Spirit in our lives and heaven will be near, even at our door.
1. Isaiah 54:7-8
2. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
3. 1 Nephi 19:9
4. D&C 45:5
5. Africa South East Area Plan 2015
6. Hymn 232 Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
7. Elder Quentin L Cook – General Conference April 2010
8. As quoted in general conference by President Monson April 2014, author unknown
9. James 1:27 see also Jacob 2:17-19
10. Examples of Righteousness, Ensign May 2008