Generally kindness is not rejected, even by those not disposed to being kind. However, there are people who are under the power of satan who reject kindness, and of such were those who rejected and hated Jesus (John 8:44).
He was kind beyond measure, and He proved His kindness by laying down His life to bring those who repent (2 Corinthians 7:10) to salvation. Because of His great love, He was prepared to be rejected by His Father, and to take upon Himself the punishment (Luke 22:42) we deserve, so that we would not suffer in hell.
Kindness, then, is akin to love (1 Corinthians 13:4). For God loved us so much that He gave us His Son so that we should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Being kind is a loving act. For some it is ‘natural’ behaviour. They are by nature kindly. They are benevolent, wanting to contribute to the happiness of others.
Being kind is a positive act of charity whereby the giver desires the recipient’s good welfare. In Acts 28 we read of kindness (v 2) given to Paul and to those who were shipwrecked on the island of Malta. We also observe Paul’s kindness when he healed the father of Publius who had fever and dysentery (v 8).
In chapter 2 of Joshua, Rahab risked her life by being kind to the spies who had gone to Jericho. She hid them from the King of Jericho’s search party. In return she asked the spies to be kind (v 12) to her and her father’s house, to spare them from death at the fall of Jericho. They agreed (v 14) and they were faithful to her request (Joshua 6:22, 23).
Indeed, we read of many acts of kindness in the Bible. Shortly after David was anointed king over Judah he was told that the men of Jabesh Gilead had buried Saul. His response was to ask the LORD to be kind to them, and he let the men of Jabesh Gilead know that he himself would be kind to them (2 Samuel 2:4-7). One act of kindness brought more acts of kindness.
This is not always the case. Take for example King David’s kindness to Hanun (2 Samuel 10:2), whose father had been kind to David. Instead of reciprocating kindness, Hanum listened to bad counsel, and rejected David’s condolences for the death of his father. He very foolishly humiliated David’s servants who had gone to him, by shaving off half of their beards and cutting off their garments at their buttocks. The upshot of this affront was a war between the Israelites and the people of Ammon and the Syrians, which resulted in the death of forty thousand Syrian horsemen* and seven hundred of their charioteers (2 Samuel 10)! [* Foot soldiers in 1 Chronicles 19:18]
In the New Testament we find Peter in his second letter speaking to those with faith urging them to add to their faith. They were to add virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Peter 1:5-9). If they faltered on this they would be like the blind, and as a result they could stumble. They were to make their call and election sure for entrance to the everlasting kingdom (vs 10, 11) – not that their diligence (v 5, 10) would achieve it, for the entrance would be given to them (v 11).
Brotherly kindness is a characteristic of those in the Lord, because He is kind (Ephesians 2:7; Titus 3:4). Paul, like Peter, urged believers to put on kindness: ‘Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering, bearing with one another and forgiving one another (Colossians 3:12-13a).’
Again, in Romans 12, verse10, Paul exhorts members of the Roman church to: ‘Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another.’ In the same manner we find him urging the Ephesians to be kind to one another: ‘And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).’
Kindness, then, is an essential ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22).