Lovingkindness

Can a person be kind without being loving? Of course they can; we have all seen it. Perhaps they were kind begrudgingly, out of a sense of duty. Perhaps they were kind in a general sense, such as donating money to a charity, but without any particular commitment to the specific individuals they were helping.

The Hebrew word chesed (חֵסֵד) means kindness, but it has deeper implications. It means kindness that you put your heart into, kindness motivated by love for the recipient. (See “Acts of Loving-Kindness” on myjewishlearning.com.) The word appears 247 times in the Old Testament, and is rendered in English using a variety of words, including “mercy,” “kindness,” “favour,” and “goodness.” And thirty times in the King James Version, the word appears as the compound word “lovingkindness.”

Nephi was familiar with the concept of chesed, and he attributed it to the Savior:

The world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.

1 Nephi 19:9

After prophesying of the Second Coming of the Savior, clothed in red robes representing His sacrifice for us, Isaiah said:

I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.

Isaiah 63:7

And an 1831 revelation indicates that we will all feel the same when we truly understand what the Savior has done for us:

And now the year of my redeemed is come; and they shall mention the loving kindness of their Lord, and all that he has bestowed upon them according to his goodness, and according to his loving kindness, forever and ever.

Doctrine and Covenants 133:52

Today, I will mention the lovingkindness of the Lord. I will remember that His goodness toward me is never perfunctory and is not motivated merely by duty. It is always motivated by love. I will strive to emulate His kindness, serving others with my heart in a true spirit of chesed.

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