Like many words that indicate qualities of character and behaviour, ‘kindness’ has a very broad meaning. It may be well understood through the study of a number of words closely associated with it. In older versions of the English Bible, kindness is one of the words used to denote God’s covenant love for Israel (Micah 6:8; see LOVE, sub-heading ‘Steadfast love’). It is also used in connection with God’s goodness, patience and forbearance (Rom 2:4; Gal 5:22-23; Titus 3:4; see GOODNESS; MERCY). Christians likewise are to be kind, particularly in being patient with people and circumstances that test or annoy them (2 Cor 6:6; Eph 4:32; Col 3:12-13; see PATIENCE). The meekness of Christ is a demonstration of his kindness (Matt 11:28-30; see MEEKNESS).

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