Say it aloud.
Don't you just love the way it sounds?
The way it feels?
But more than the way it sounds and feels, I love what the word implies.
I feel that to show or feel lovingkindness towards another means to show affection, and perhaps even to care for, out of a desire to do good for someone other than yourself. I think that it is characterized by a sweetness or a tenderness, loyalty and devotion; and surely mercy plays a part in the lovingkindness of one to another. In doing a word study for my Hebrew class a few semesters ago, I focused on the word chesed, translated as 'mercy'. However, through my research for said study, I quickly discovered that chesed has been translated into several words, 'lovingkindness' included.
Anyway, I know that the greatest example of lovingkindness we have is our Lord God. First and foremost in that He has loved us since... before we can even imagine... and that in so loving us, He sent His Son to die for our sins, so that we can be in communion with Him. We can have a relationship with Him, and be near to Him always - and even spend all of eternity in His presence.
I was thinking about that a lot during the time I spent driving from Missouri to Alabama last weekend. And I think I will when I return to Missouri on Sunday. I mean, it's pretty heavy stuff! Here we are in the Lenten season, approaching Easter. Are we preparing ourselves? Are we truly reflecting on the life and ministry of Jesus? How often do we meditate on His word, on the beautiful Good News that is Christ Jesus, Son of God and Messiah? It pains me to see that year after year, people turn remembering both the birth and death of Jesus into holidays of sparkle and show, gluttony and greed, and emptiness and earthly things. The symbolism behind traditions that Christians and non-Christians alike partake in have been, over the years, covered up and even lost entirely. How very sad.
And yet regardless, our Lord God loves us the same. He extends His lovingkindness towards us... minute by minute, day after day. Always merciful, always loving, always kind, always loyal, always devoted. If only we were to follow His example, which can be found in His Son, Jesus. If only we were to extend these things to one another - to the lost, and the broken, and the hopeless.
... If only, if only.
Pray that others would feel the great desire and need to show lovingkindness to those around them. And that they would share the hope and joy and love that they have in Jesus Christ with others.