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In our world today, certain values presented as essential to Christian life in the New Testament seem to no longer appeal to us. It is as if their importance has faded and they have become obsolete due to the changes in our society and our lifestyles. Is this really the case?
At first glance, benevolence appears to be a non-essential value. It does not seem to be of great importance in our walk with God. It is sometimes viewed as a sign of weakness in certain relationships. Is it silly or foolish to be benevolent? Isn't that showing our weakness? Is this not putting ourselves in danger of being ”duped” or being “too nice”?
Let’s look at how the New Testament talks about it over and over again.
The Apostle Paul presents benevolence as one aspect of the love with which the Heavenly Father treats us. It is the very force that led Him to adopt us as His children in Jesus Christ! (Ephesians 1:5).
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul also describes it as being one of the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, benevolence, faith, meekness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22).
The apostle demonstrates a kindhearted attitude toward those around him (1 Thessalonians 2:7). He even specifies on this occasion that he treats his audience as a mother would treat her own children.
He also makes a strong statement when he writes to his disciple Timothy: “That a servant of the Lord should not have conflicts; on the contrary, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach and support opposition.” (2 Timothy 2:24)
The author of the book of Hebrews teaches us that benevolence is an expression, a work of our faith. He mentions it as having been demonstrated by Rahab, the prostitute, when she hid the Hebrew spies in her home. It was her kindness that saved their lives! (Hebrews 11:31)
Finally, the apostle Peter, too, asked the believers: “Finally, have all the same thoughts and the same feelings, be full of brotherly love, compassion, benevolence.” He mentions benevolence as one of the characteristics to be displayed in our relationships with other believers (1 Peter 3:8).
So, is benevolence an optional quality, or is it an essential value in the renewal of our souls? It is to be rediscovered and applied urgently!
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