What Does the Book of Mormon Teach About Kindness?

Near the beginning of the Book of Mormon, Nephi prophesied that the Savior be scourged, smitten, and spit upon. He would willingly endure all of this “because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men” (1 Nephi 19:9).

Near the end of the Book of Mormon, we read the same description of charity given by the apostle Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians. The description begins with these words: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind” (Moroni 7:45, 1 Corinthians 13:4).

You could read that as two separate characteristics of charity: a charitable person is long-suffering, and he or she is also kind. But I prefer to read it as a single attribute: a charitable person is kind even when they are suffering. That grouping is more meaningful to me, because it’s easy to be kind when things are going well. The true test of your love for other people is how you treat them when you are in pain, when you are under stress, when you don’t feel like being kind.

When Jesus appeared on the American continent, He quoted the words of Isaiah about the constancy of God’s kindness toward His children:

For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee.
In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment, but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.
For this, the waters of Noah unto me, for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee.
For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee (3 Nephi 22:7-10, Isaiah 54:7-10).

God’s kindness and love for us is constant, even when we don’t see it. We should strive to emulate that.

When the Savior heard that His cousin, John the Baptist, had been beheaded by King Herod, He traveled “by ship into a desert place apart.” He wanted to be alone, to mourn the loss of His relative. But people heard where He had gone, and thousands “followed him on foot.” When Jesus saw the multitude, He “was moved with compassion toward them” (Matthew 14:13-14). He healed their sick and fed them miraculously. He then instructed His disciples to cross the sea ahead of Him, telling them that He would meet them on the other side. Only then was He able to find the solitude He had sought: “He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone” (Matthew 14:23).

Today, I will strive to follow the Savior’s example of kindness. I will remember that the Savior was kind even when He was suffering. I will strive to emulate His selflessness all the time, not just when it is easy to be kind.

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