To be kind is to be disposed to do good to others, and to make them happy by granting their requests, supplying their wants or assisting them in distress; having tenderness or goodness of nature; benevolent; benignant. Proceeding from tenderness or goodness of heart; benevolent; as a kind act; a kind return of favors.Webster’s American Dictionary. (Kind (n.) is treated under Degree and Kind.)

Kindness is 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.The Oxford English Dictionary

“Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”—Ephesians 4:32

Spiritually, to be kind is a virtue, exercised as behavior marked by ethical attitudes toward and treatment of others, a compassionate disposition, and charitable concern for others. Kindness is one of the nine traits considered to be the "fruit of the Spirit": "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, temperance. Against such there is no law."—Galatians 5:22-23.

Kindness is rooted in the principles of Love and Mercy; kindness is a law of being, a law of doing and a virtue.

Edna Lister on Kindness

Young people need encouragement, understanding and bushels of kindness to set their vision ahead and to help lift their chins just a little higher so they will not stumble and fall. It is remarkable what you can do in these cases when you make the effort.—Edna Lister, December 10, 1936.

We believe that the best way to prepare for a future life is to be kind, live one day at a time, and do the very best that you can do each day.—Edna Lister, Declaration of Principles, March 12, 1938.

Love overcomes all unkindness.—Edna Lister, February 3, 1939.

To be kindly is the finest prayer you can make.—Edna Lister, February 7, 1939.

Kindness is a fruit that grows on the tree of life.—Edna Lister, April 19, 1940.

Love, as kindness of compassion, covers all transgressions for others.—Edna Lister, January 28, 1941.

The Father’s loving-kindness turns the greatest mistake into great good.—Edna Lister, April 2, 1944.

Kindness resides in charity under Mother love. You create benevolence by combining the Father’s will with the Mother’s love.—Edna Lister, Jesus, the Teacher, October 3, 1954.

Picked green, the fruit of kindness and gentleness can cover up rampant ego and ruthless determination.—Edna Lister, Idealization, May 10, 1959.

Kindness can’t endure in the face of its opposite, anger, which exudes a poison that goes directly to the weakest spot of one’s body. Anger eats at cells and causes a congestion that can erupt immediately or five years later.—Edna Lister, Idealization, May 10, 1959.

Top ↑

Aristotle on Kindness

To take Kindness next: the definition of it will show us towards whom it is felt, why, and in what frames of mind. Kindness — under the influence of which a man is said to "be kind" — may be defined as helpfulness towards some one in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped. Kindness is great if shown to one who is in great need, or who needs what is important and hard to get, or who needs it at an important and difficult crisis; or if the helper is the only, the first, or the chief person to give the help.

Natural cravings constitute such needs; and in particular cravings, accompanied by pain, for what is not being attained. The appetites are cravings for this kind: sexual desire, for instance, and those which arise during bodily injuries and in dangers; for appetite is active both in danger and in pain. Hence those who stand by us in poverty or in banishment, even if they do not help us much, are yet really kind to us, because our need is great and the occasion pressing; for instance, the man who gave the mat in the Lyceum. The helpfulness must therefore meet, preferably, just this kind of need; and failing just this kind, some other kind as great or greater.

We now see to whom, why, and under what conditions kindness is shown; and these facts must form the basis of our arguments. We must show that the persons helped are, or have been, in such pain and need as has been described, and that their helpers gave, or are giving, the kind of help described, in the kind of need described. We can also see how to eliminate the idea of kindness and make our opponents appear unkind: [1385b] we may maintain that they are being or have been helpful simply to promote their own interest — this, as has been stated, is not kindness; or that their action was accidental, or was forced upon them; or that they were not doing a favour, but merely returning one, whether they know this or not — in either case the action is a mere return, and is therefore not a kindness even if the doer does not know how the case stands.

In considering this subject we must look at all the "categories": an act may be an act of kindness because (1) it is a particular thing, (2) it has a particular magnitude or (3) quality, or (4) is done at a particular time or (5) place. As evidence of the want of kindness, we may point out that a smaller service had been refused to the man in need; or that the same service, or an equal or greater one, has been given to his enemies; these facts show that the service in question was not done for the sake of the person helped. Or we may point out that the thing desired was worthless and that the helper knew it: no one will admit that he is in need of what is worthless.—Aristotle, Rhetorica, Book II, Part VII

Top ↑

New Testament on Kindness

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.—Luke 6:35-36.

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.—Romans 12:10-13.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind.—1 Corinthians 13:4.

We then, as workers together with [Christ], beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.—2 Corinthians 6:1-10.

Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.—Ephesians 4:32.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.—Colossians 3:12-15.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, temperance. Against such there is no law.—Galatians 5:22-23.

The kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.—Titus 3:4-6.

Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.—2 Peter 1:5-7.

Top ↑

O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.—Psalm 117.

The desire of a man is his kindness.—Proverbs 19:22.

[A virtuous woman] opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.—Proverbs 31:26.

Top ↑

Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of kindness: Old English kynd (adj) + ness, "courtesy, noble deeds"; from Old English kyndnes, "nation; produce, an increase."

To be kind describes a law of being.

To act kindly you must obey a law of doing.

Kindness is a soul virtue.


Aristotle. "Kindness," Rhetorica: The Works of Aristotle, Book II, Part VII, Volume XI. W. Rhys Roberts, translator. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924.

Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Nag Hammadi Library. James M. Robinson, ed. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988.

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, "Kindness," 5th ed. G. & C. Merriam Co., Springfield, Massachusetts, 1938.