“What is wanted in a man is kindness,” says Proverbs. Doesn’t that seem like a strange thing? You’d think the writer and collector of some of the world’s best known and most studied axioms of wisdom might say, “What is wanted in a man is strength … or aggression … or courage.” Something fierce and warrior-like, seemingly more representative of a man filled with testosterone, called to fight and forage and conquer the world. Kindness seems kind of wimpy, almost non-masculine and old lady-like.
This is what I love about the Bible and partly how I know my faith is true and absolute. I serve a God who turns everything upside down and inside out and does the exact opposite of what is expected and desires the same from us.
Kindness. The Hebrew word for kindness [chesed] is better defined by these three English words: kindness, goodness and faithfulness. Noah Webster was a contemporary of James Strong, author of Strong’s Concordance (the most widely used Bible translation tool). Since English is a living language and in a constant state of flux (think of how the definition of the word gay has changed in the last 20 years), it is helpful to look at Webster’s 1828 Dictionary to get a closer idea of what James Strong meant when he chose those words for his translation.
Kindness means good will; benevolence; that temper or disposition which delights in contributing to the happiness of others, which is exercised cheerfully in gratifying their wishes, supplying their wants or alleviating their distresses; benignity of nature. Kindness ever accompanies love. Goodness, according to Webster, is the state of being good; the physical qualities which constitute value, excellence or perfection; and the moral qualities which constitute Christian excellence; moral virtue; religion. Faithfulness is defined as fidelity; loyalty; firm adherence to allegiance and duty; as the faithfulness of a subject; Truth; veracity; as the faithfulness of God.
Stitching these together, Proverbs says, “What is wanted in a man is having the character qualities of benevolence (desiring good will for others and wishing for their happiness, supplying their wants or alleviating their distresses) of moral excellence and of virtue, loyalty, truth, and firm adherence to belief. Does that not conjure up a completely different picture? This is why it is so helpful to dig deeper into the Scriptures.
My friend Todd V is a walking, talking Proverbs 19:22 guy. Though he would probably vigorously deny it, eschewing public praise, to me he is a man’s man, steeped in kindness, goodness and faithfulness. Although life has not dealt him an easy hand, He plays his cards with the grace and humility of someone who has been touched by Jesus. He puts the needs of others first, always has a kind and encouraging word, a welcoming smile and a heart to serve. And he never calls attention to himself or to what he is doing or how he is helping others. But if you watch him, he is always about God’s business.
Immersion is blessed to have men like Todd and the so many other great men- men of faith and virtue and excellence- who are taking the lead in Immersion, in their homes, churches, businesses and communities. How desperately the world needs them! And how desperately do we women need to see and applaud these great men as they step up and into their destinies. According to Webster, kindness ever accompanies love. I do not suppose it an easy task being a “kind” man in today’s harsh, demanding and unforgiving world. But as I said in the beginning, God doesn’t do things the normal or easy way, does He? And neither does He expect different from us.