I’d rather have people hate me with the knowledge that I tried to save them.”
– Keith Green
A thought that occurred to me, as an attack was launched on me recently concerning my convictions of the Holy Spirit, centered on the difference between “kindness” and “good deeds.” Truly, a difference exists and it proves important to understand that difference.
According to http://gardenofpraise.com/godseg61.htm, “The definition of kindness is a mild, gentle state of mind. It also is a good or benevolent quality or good behavior. Also in the meaning are being considerate, helpful, loving and/or affectionate.”
An article on roseavenue.com, called “Characteristics of Love,” defines kindness, “to show oneself mild, to be kind, use kindness.”
According to http://thesaurus.com/browse/good+deed, good deed means “helping act; service.”
It may sound similar, but there is a big difference. Kindness is not merely an act you perform for someone. Kindness is not when you randomly do something nice to make someone happy. In reality, kindness is a lifestyle choice. Kindness is the way you treat people on a whole. It is something that envelops your heart and causes you to live a life of humbleness and meekness. Kindness goes much deeper than a simple act.
Good deeds are actions done that help people. This is, of course, a great thing! Maybe you mowed your neighbor’s lawn for them; maybe you bought your sister that new crock pot she’s wanted to help cook better meals for her family. Maybe you took the time to talk to a friend who is sad. The difference, however, is that it is temporary and can be done in the wrong spirit. A good deed does not necessarily come from a kind heart. It is blessed when it does, and that is a wonderful thing. Nevertheless, one must be careful not to label themselves anything special because they have performed a good deed.
God convicted me of this recently. He also convicted me that good deeds are temporary and will fade. As a Christian, I should not merely be performing good deeds; I should be treating people with kindness and sharing the gospel. I don’t want my testimony to be, “She does nice things for people.” I want my testimony to be “She really cares and wants people to go to heaven. She walks with the Lord.”
I don’t want to do a good deed and have it pass away with the wind. I want to plant seeds for my Lord in a lost and dying world; I want to see people join my family in heaven! I do not want to pass people by and have them burn in hell! It already rips my heart apart when I think of the numerous people I have missed. I just pray for God’s strength in getting better at it – not for my benefit but for the lost souls. I also want my Father to be pleased!
In no way does this mean we should bully people. So often, people confuse the idea of soul winning with bullying. It is our duty to present the gospel; then it is up to the person to accept or reject it. If we never present the plan of salvation, the good deeds performed will be momentarily pleasing, but that person’s soul will not be benefited in any way. As they are judged to hell, they are not going to say, “Well, it is not her fault. She shoveled my snow for me. I should have just known the gospel through her kindness.” They will be saying, “Why didn’t you tell me??!! Why did you not share the good news with me when you had a chance??” At that point, it will be too late.
Nobody likes to think about the accountability we have for lost souls, but it truly exists. Even if we can’t win them all, we are supposed to keep trying! It can be overwhelming to think about that!!
So, recently, I was attacked for making a statement that good deeds were pointless without the gospel being presented. As I explained my thoughts of how they did not produce eternal fruits, missiles continued to fire. People are entitled to feel what they want; I personally praise the Lord for convicting my heart once again for the need to spread his seed in this lost and dying world! I pray that God will help me to have a kind, joyful, compassionate spirit, which would be impossible without the Holy Ghost, and that I would be able to help people understand the truth of God’s Word.
As I said, “Doing good deeds are wonderful, but doing them without sharing the gospel is pointless!.”
However, kindness and compassion are both characteristics of Jesus and should be embraced!
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; – 1 Peter 2:9
What are your thoughts? Are you merely doing good deeds or living with a kind heart that emulates Christ? Are you doing nice things but leaving the gospel to the wayside? It is not too late to ask God to help you get a burden. I have asked him to renew and increase that burden, so I can stop failing in my walk with Him.