In a Facebook group, I saw a young woman ask a question that was elementary. It’s a question that, with just a little research, she could have answered on her own in about five minutes. But she asked the group anyway.

Another woman commented, answering curtly, but following up with something to the effect of, “People ask this question all the time, so all you needed to do was conduct a little research.” The tone of her comment wasn’t followed by “you idiot,” but it might has well have been.

Comments that followed called out the commenter for the rudeness of her reply, but she didn’t back down. Later on, the original poster stated that she’s a single mom of three kids who suffers with anxiety and depression thanks to the abuse she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband. As a working single mom, she said, she didn’t have a whole lot of time to research posts in the group for her answer (and any of us who use Facebook frequently know that it’s hard to research the posts in a group even if someone had all the time in the world). None of that context prompted an apology or acknowledgement from the first commenter.

Another comment struck me in its simplicity and its power. It simply read, “Be kind.”

Kindness is lacking in our culture these days. On social media, “keyboard warriors” make it a point to take down people with whom they disagree in the meanest way possible. Owning the other side in a political, social, or even theological debate is the equivalent of victories in the field of battle.

Even faithful Christians and Jews can fall victim to the lack of kindness that pervades our world. Witness the ugliness going on over at the Southern Baptist Convention. Battles over rooting out racism and sexual abuse, the struggle to resist Critical Race Theory, and the lines drawn between incrementalism and an all-or-nothing attitude toward abolishing abortion have seen various parties draw their daggers.

Recently a pastor in Texas celebrated the killing of a person during a gay pride parade, to the whoops and hollers of his congregation. I’m not linking to the video or naming the pastor or church because – regardless of how you feel about homosexuality – this sort of unkindness makes all believers look bad.

Where’s the kindness these days? The Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines kindness as, “An attribute of God and quality desirable but not consistently found in humans.”[1] I’d call that an understatement.

Kindness is one of the Fruits of the Spirit, as we see in Galatians 5:22-23. In Colossians 3:12-13 (ESV), Paul tells us to, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, , humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive,” while in Ephesians 4:32 (ESV), he encourages us to, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word חֶסֶד, ḥeṣedh, translates into “lovingkindness,” “mercy,” or “steadfast love” in English. It most often refers to how God treats His people. And the kindness that we should show as believers should reflect the kindness that God has bestowed on us. True, God’s ḥeṣedh is infinite, but we can reflect it in our finite human way.

I truly believe that we won’t regain a sense of kindness toward others in the modern world if it doesn’t start with people of faith today. My challenge to you is to exhibit kindness at every opportunity, particularly on social media. Think about how it makes you feel, and see if it makes a difference in others. I bet you’ll notice a change in yourself and in the people you’re around.



[1] Huttar, D. K. (1996). Kindness. In Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology (electronic ed., p. 446). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

Photo by johnhain (Pixabay)


Check out the previous installments in Chris Queen’s Liberty Island writings on faith:

The Pitfalls of Emotional Christianity

My Church Heritage and How It Shaped Me

What I’ve Learned from Reading a Systematic Theology

A Faith-Drenched View of the South

Faith or Moralism?

Not My Home