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The Christ-like Attribute of Kindness

The Christ-like Attribute of Kindness
To the ancient Israelites and to us today, the Lord has promised “For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee” 1
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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.

First
Elder Quentin L Cook taught “I invite each one of us individually to recognize that how we disagree is a real measure of who we are and whether we truly follow the Saviour. It is appropriate to disagree, but it is not appropriate to be disagreeable.” 7
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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:

Second

“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

How wonderful it is to receive kind acts of service from others. Some years ago while serving as a stake president, my family and I suffered a financial reversal. It was a difficult and trying time for the family. What was my surprise when arriving at the stake office one day I discovered the room full of groceries of every item imaginable. I shall never forget our family kneeling on the kitchen floor of our home that day, pouring out our souls to God, thanking Him for the kindness of people that willingly and anonymously gave of what they had to people in need. Whilst even today we do not know who these kind people are, we know the Lord loves them and we know that they practised true religion in giving of themselves to us.9 As we serve others, we lead them closer to the Lord. Heaven is opened a little more for them and they see His goodness and His mercy in their lives clearer than ever before.
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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.

Third
So, the very next Sunday evening we took some food and treats and knocked on their door. As we sat and visited, the mother, weeping said “How did you know to come? We have been praying for someone to come.” A lovely spirit filled the room, and as we invited them back to church, they committed to come. Since that day, this lovely family has been back in the church. They are serving in their local ward and preparing to return to the temple.
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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.

References:

References:

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

Further Reading:

Further Reading: