Kindness with a Backbone

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There is a big difference between a nice man and a kind man.

Here at the seminary, we have been listening to a number of students preaching sermons on Ruth and we have now gone through Ruth 1 and Ruth 2. One thing that struck me again today as I was listening to the two sermons on Ruth 2, was Boaz as a role model for Christian men. We have many role models: a dad, a brother, a pastor, a leader. Hebrews 11 talks about the men of the Old Testament as examples of faith. In fact, we are called to be imitators of men like Boaz who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Heb. 6:12).

What stands out to me from the life of Boaz is his kindness as a godly man. We do not often speak of kindness when we speak of masculine characteristics, and yet, it is just another aspect of living as a godly man in a sinful world. But here we see a man whose kindness shines through and is a human picture of the kindness of God and more particularly the kindness of God in Jesus Christ.

I want to briefly lay out 5 actions of kindness from the example of Boaz. But you should also read this article on Desiring God from Douglas Wilson laying out 5 principles for kind husbands from the example of Boaz.

1. Kindness protects weakness

When Boaz sees Ruth gleaning out in the fields in Ruth 2, he commands the young men not to touch her.

2. Kindness notices the foreigner

As a Moabitess, Ruth does not come from the most glorious background. She is also a foreigner among God’s people. And yet, Boaz takes notice of her to protect.

3. Kindness promotes true value

Boaz could have made a number of insulting comments, that would have been true, but unkind. Instead he focuses on that amazing quality that God worked in Ruth when she took refuge under His wings. This was not flattery. He really honors her.

4. Kindness pursues righteousness

When Ruth lays down at his feet, he is respectful of her as a woman. A man who lacked self-control would have taken advantage of her. When he sees that he must “redeem” her, he goes out and does his task, regardless of what people might say about him.

5. Kindness points to Jesus

Boaz was a small picture of Jesus. But he couldn’t die for his bride and rise from the dead for her, whereas Jesus could. In His massive kindness to humankind, God sent His only Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. This kindness ought to lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4), including repentance for sins like lack of kindness.

Boaz is a fine picture of kindness with a backbone, kindness with a goal, kindness that does not seek its own, but the best of the servant of God. In a time when there is no king in the land, his kindness and righteousness is like dew in the morning, like the sun rising after a long dark night (II Sam. 23). Much more could be said about his courage, boldness, etc. I will suffice it to say for now that the 21st century man who looks to Jesus Christ, ruling justly, with the kindness characterized by a backbone, is like the morning dew and the sunrise.

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