The Addictive Quality of Kindness

How You Can Be Addicted to Kindness As God Supports your Habit

A Good Addiction?
When we talk about addictions, most people will look at it from a negative standpoint. But what if you could be addicted to something positive? In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes a certain group of people who had an addiction. But it was not to alcohol, drugs or gambling that they were addicted to. Their addiction was giving: “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)” (1 Corinthians 16:15).

Not only were they generous and kind with their goods, but they were also addicted to being kind and generous with their goods! What consumed their minds and motivated their actions was not how much money they could earn, how many sales they could make, or how contracts they could secure. It was on how many believers they could bless and how much they could give away. It sounds drastic and almost radical, but this is what God, through the Holy Spirit can inspire in all of us.

Not Based on Your Own Capacity
This kind of radical kindness and generosity is not based on how much we have or what we are capable of doing, but on the Holy Spirit generating this passion for others in us. In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul describes another group of believers who had also been captured by this radical kindness and generosity. These believers were not wealthy, in fact, they were going through financial hardships, but that did not stop their love for others to overflow in kindness.

This is what Paul writes about them in 2 Corinthians 8:2-4: “for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favour of taking part in the relief of the saints—” Their kindness was not based on their ability because they gave beyond their means. They were so excited and motivated to show kindness that they even begged Paul for the favour of being a blessing! They too were addicted to kindness.

What Has He Done for you Lately?
So, if it not based on their ability, what could possibly stimulate such radical kindness? Verse 4 of the same chapter tells us, “…and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.” They had surrendered their lives and resources to God, and based on that surrender, they were free (and excited) to give to others. They had been overtaken by the mercy and kindness of God in their lives, that they willingly lay their lives and all that was in need to God. The ensuing result was an explosion of kindness towards others.

There is something powerful that happens when you continually recall the goodness of God in your life. The kindness of God in our lives motivates the kindness of God in us to others and as you continue to practice that radical kindness, it becomes addictive! As Pastor Dave said this weekend, it is sobering to think that Jesus was even kind to Judas, knowing full well what Judas eventually did. Similarly, the Bible said that before we became children of God, we were not only alienated from Him, we were his enemies (Romans 5:10). Yet as far as we were from Him, His kindness reached us and we became family. Radical kindness towards others begins when we recognize His radical kindness towards others.

You Can’t Out-give God
Many of us are familiar with the comforting words of Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” But did you know that these words written to the same group of believers in 2 Corinthians 8 who were begging Paul to take part in the generosity of other believers? The more we surrender our lives to Christ and receive His kindness, the more kindness will flow to others. And the more His kindness flows to others, the more we take part in this radical generosity and kindness, but that is not the end! God then provides for our needs that we can continue to be kind to others.

As one person said, “I’m addicted to giving, and God supports my habit”.