Ah, the Proverbs 31 woman—she’s the biblical epitome of what true womanhood means. She’s the dream lady for many men and the role model for many Christian women. Proverbs 31 contains an exhausting list of her endless, diligent endeavors. She works, and she works astutely and industriously. This is one strong lady. Tucked away, however, buried within the list of her physical accomplishments, is a revealing description of her heart…
“On her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26). When I read this, I picture a benevolent woman, smiling, listening, encouraging. She’s hugging someone who’s had a rough go of it. She’s loving and loved. Is that how you picture kindness? Better yet, what does kindness really mean?
According to Oxford Dictionaries online, kindness means “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” Let’s consider what each of these three words implies in our effort to emulate this aspect of the Proverbs 31 woman.
Being friendly seems like an obvious definition of kindness. It’s common to come across someone in our daily activities who really gives the impression of being in the middle of a horrible day. They exist all around us: at the store, in restaurants, on the roads, and in other stressful situations. This is when the Proverbs 31 woman would greet the individual with a smile and a kind word. “Thank you, and I hope you have a nice day,” she’ll say to the clerk who grudgingly works the checkout counter. He might not respond, but what better way to spread some kindness than by greeting those around us with a friendly smile and an encouraging word? We never know the effect we can have on others. How often have we been the recipients of a stranger’s life story or even their woes because we were friendly and initiated small talk? Being friendly reflects kindness to those who cross our daily paths.
Generosity and kindness also go hand in hand. Generosity can include financial endowment, but truly means so much more. For what can we give that is often more important than money? Our time. Consider the definition of generous: “showing a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected.” Some of the kindest people I know have taken their time to listen to and to encourage, not just me but many others. There are some people who have so little in way of physical possessions, and yet they are constantly giving to others. I know a couple of people who are not financially “rich,” but if someone needs help, they make sure that person has food. Generosity is giving, it’s unselfish, it’s putting others before us. The Proverbs 31 woman is kind because she gives freely of herself and her time to those who need her help.
Being considerate is another quality of kindness because it too is an unselfish act. Being considerate means to be thoughtful of others. It’s a trait that is slowly disappearing in our society; perhaps that is why we really take notice when a person is considerate—when someone gives up their seat for an elderly lady on a bus, allows someone with only a couple of items to skip ahead in the checkout line, or holds the door open for the person behind them. Being considerate requires us to be aware of our surroundings and the people in those surroundings. Being considerate means doing unto others as we would have them do unto us (Luke 6:31). Being considerate could potentially bring a moment of inconvenience to us, but what satisfaction might we feel when we think that perhaps we made someone else’s life a bit easier for a moment? Can we see our Proverbs 31 woman allowing a car to turn in front of her, helping someone pick up dropped papers, or cleaning up a water spill on the floor so that others wouldn’t slip on it? Consideration is kindness because our actions reflect that we care for others.
It certainly seems like the Proverbs 31 woman can set the bar high for any woman who is trying to emulate her. However, by just simply making kindness a part of our daily life, I dare say we are well on our way.