"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
Lovingkindness and truth go before you." Psalm 89:14
"I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for you are good.
Your lovingkindness endures forever.
I will give thanks to you, Lord, for your unfailing love and your
wonderful acts to your people, for you satisfy the hungry soul
and fill the hungry soul with good things." Psalm 107: 1, 8-9
There is a word used in those verses that I see rarely these days, and it is a very descriptive word about an attribute of God. The word is, "lovingkindness." What does it mean to you?
For a simple mind like mine, it means God is loving and kind, all at the same time. While there are possibly better ways to describe it, I am clinging to what it means to me. My God is a loving God, as is evidenced in his continual willingness to apply the blood of his only son to the lives of those who believe in him. His love for us is not seen only in the event of the cross, but also in the relationship of being our father. Scriptures remind us that our earthly fathers know how to give good things to us, but God better knows how to give good things to those who ask him. And 1 John 4:8 points out "God is love."
In the second part of the word, God's kindness is a display of what we will call a "bonus attribute" of the heavenly father. We like being around people who are kind. Too often in our earthly relationships there are those who seem to thrive on saying unkind things. The result sadly leads to division, separation, and bitterness between people, often between people who both profess to be Christians. That's why we are warned by the writer James about the misuse of the tongue. Our speech often reflects our feelings and motivation are less than kind. So while we have a God who is a picture of kindness, there remains the need for his followers to learn this attribute.
Now let's put the two parts of the word back together, where they belong. Can you imagine anything greater than God's love? Is there a better way for us to learn to be kind, than through imitating God? Two strong attributes, but now joined together to form lovingkindness, showing us the very nature of God, whose lovingkindness endures forever.
We praise him for being our father, and loving us and being kind toward us. This one strong attribute of God continues to be demonstrated toward his children, reminding us to be more like him.
To see this work in your life, think of someone who has been unlovable toward you. Bring that person to the forefront of your thoughts, your prayers, and your attention for just one day. Your life can demonstrate the lovingkindness of God when you show the kindness of your love toward them.
When I think of my sin, I become extremely thankful for the God who treats me with lovingkindness, and also thankful his lovingkindness endures forever. Our God is an awesome God.