If you think back to your childhood, you can certainly think of a time when you were accused of doing something you did not do and received a punishment for it – especially if you had siblings and/or cousins. Many times the unjust judgment did not include any kindness, and the resulting feeling was despair, resentment, and bitterness.
In today’s culture, justice and kindness are buzz words of the day. Unfortunately, a lot of what is considered just and kind are not what Yahweh includes as such. The Scriptures inform and encourage Christians to dispense Yahweh’s true justice and to practice His kindness. His kindness and justice are always right and true. Yahweh’s prophet, Zechariah, speaking to the Israelites, stated this concept many centuries ago.
Zechariah 7:9. Thus has the LORD of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother;
We are told to dispense true justice and practice kindness. If we are dispensing something, we are providing a service or information to many people. True justice is not for one or two but for all. Practicing kindness is being aware of kind acts and carrying them out over and over. Neither dispensing nor practicing is a one-and-done action.
What does dispensing justice and practicing kindness look like? We need something or someone to model this. There are many examples to model in Scripture, and we will take a look at a few.
Zechariah 7:10. and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.
To be kind to widows and orphans is a start. Not persecuting those who have less or loss in their lives is another avenue to dispense justice and practice kindness. If we find that our hearts are thinking evil of a person or group of people, then we need to rid ourselves of these evil thoughts and pursue righteous thinking. Here in Zechariah, Yahweh tells us what happens to us when we oppress others.
Zechariah 7:11-12 (NASB, 1995). But they refused to pay attention, and turned a stubborn shoulder and plugged their ears from hearing. They also made their hearts as hard as a diamond so that they could not hear the Law and the words which the LORD of armies had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets; therefore great wrath came from the LORD of armies.
Israel was not following how Yahweh had taught them. Those who close off themselves from righteous justice and kindness are described as having a heart as hard as a diamond. Now that is a hard heart! Kindness and justice cannot happen with a diamond for a heart. Yahweh was having to continue to remind Israel of this even though He taught those commandments centuries earlier as recorded in Leviticus.
Leviticus 19:15. You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly.
The word “fairly” in the Hebrew means “righteously.” To be righteous in justice, Yahweh expounds that it is not to be dictated by circumstances of rich or poor, neighbor or enemy, or any other outward appearance or prejudice.
Ezekiel 45:9. Thus says the Lord GOD, “Enough, you princes of Israel; put away violence and destruction, and practice justice and righteousness. Stop your expropriations from My people,” declares the Lord GOD.
The act of expropriating means to take action possibly by taking someone’s property that does not belong to you. Ahab, Jezebel’s husband and king of Israel, lusted after his neighbor’s property. Naboth would not sell it, and so Jezebel had Naboth killed. Ahab received the property. That is obviously not kind nor just in any way. The full record is in 1 Kings 21.
1 Kings 21:15. And when Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth, the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.”
Joseph, a great man who was steadfast in his love for and devotion to Yahweh, was treated very unjustly and with no kindness at all when sold into slavery by his brothers, arrested for a trumped up assault, and forgotten by his friend. During all his trials being in slavery and prison, even as he was exalted as second to Pharaoh, Yahweh showed him justice and kindness.
Genesis 39:21. But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.
In the midst of his trials, Joseph was given kindness by Yahweh by making his stay as pleasant as possible. When his jealous brothers conspired to kill Joseph, instead he was sold into slavery. When falsely accused and sent to jail, Joseph was put in charge of the whole jail by the chief jailer. The cupbearer that Joseph showed great kindness to after being released from jail did not remember Joseph until it was convenient for the cupbearer at Pharaoh’s birthday party.
Some may think that if Yahweh was really kind, these situations never would have happened in the first place. Also, if Yahweh was really kind, Joseph would have been at home with his family and especially his father who loved him so very much. Yes, circumstances could have been quite different. The way life is sometimes, they were not different. His brothers had diamond hearts. They were neither kind nor just. Joseph was thrown into a worldly situation, and Yahweh was there helping him, protecting him, and elevating him at every instance. He wasn’t just a field slave for Potiphar but the head steward. He wasn’t just an inmate in a back dungeon with no light; he was in charge of the jail. Then he wasn’t just released, he was exalted to second only under Pharaoh, and Yahweh restored his family to him. Because of Joseph, Israel did not starve to death due to the years of drought. Yahweh’s kindness and justice were not only for Joseph but for Israel too.
2 Samuel records David wanting to show Yahweh’s kindness to the house of Saul. David was king then, and Saul and most all of this family were dead. He asked about Saul’s relatives that may still be alive. Remember that Saul tried to murder David on several occasions and hunted him relentlessly in the wilderness for years. Yet, David represents Yahweh’s kindness.
2 Samuel 9:1-3. Then David said, “Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” Now there was a servant of the house of Saul whose name was Ziba, and they summoned him to David; and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?” And he said, “I am your servant.” Then the king said, “Is there no one remaining of the house of Saul to whom I could show the kindness of God?” And Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan, on who is disabled in both feet.”
David called Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, to him and gave him Saul’s land and his faithful servant, Ziba. In like manner, David represented Yahweh’s kindness many times during his life. One was when he showed righteous judgment and kindness to Saul in the cave (1 Samuel 24). In another record, David on his way to Ziph, even though he had the opportunity to kill Saul again, spared Saul’s life (2 Samuel 26).
David practicing Yahweh’s kindness generated righteous justice.
Below are a few verses about kindness and justice. Note that the two are at times
Job 6:14. “For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend; So that he does not forsake the fear of the Almighty.
Proverbs 3:3. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Proverbs 14:22. Will they not go astray who devise evil? But kindness and truth will be to those who devise good.
Hosea 12:6. Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice, And wait for your God continually.
Very plainly we are told to distribute justice and to love to be kind. The next verse links humility with justice and kindness.
Micah 6:8. He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
As mentioned earlier, we are not to judge according to appearance. The prophet Samuel was to anoint a king for Yahweh and Samuel kept looking for a strong, tall, handsome man among Jesse’s sons. Yahweh showed Samuel that the young ruddy shepherd boy was the anointed one because of his humble heart and love for Yahweh (1 Samuel 16). John states this very plainly in the following verse.
John 7:24. Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
So why follow the Word of God and do justice and love kindness? Romans 2 says:
Romans 2:4. Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
I know when someone shows me kindness, especially with just judgments, I am drawn to that person with love and respect. In Yahweh’s kindness, He takes us by the hand, and as a loving father who is righteous, leads us to changing our ways. Kindness is powerful, not soft. Kindness does reach into a hard heart and begin melting away the pains and fears, constraining us to Yahweh and Jesus.
As Paul reminds Titus of ways of being as a Christian, let us have knowledge of what the Scriptures say to us, ask for Wisdom and how to apply it, and then we will have great understanding of the how of dispensing justice and practicing kindness. This leads us and others to repentance for entrance into the coming Kingdom of God.
Titus 3:1-8. Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to slander no one, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing every consideration for all people. For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we did in righteousness, but in accordance with His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He richly poured out upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This statement is trustworthy; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and beneficial for people.
Why be kind? Why give righteous judgment? Because these things are beneficial not only to ourselves but to others. This leads us to repentance, and we are able to help others to turn away from sin. We want to honor Yahweh and have a humble heart of kindness that is an important way of life. Praise Yahweh for His kindness and righteous judgment on our lives. It could benefit you to stop for a minute and meditate upon the kindnesses that Yahweh has shown you in difficult times that kept you going and then to thank Him.