You may need to be Jewish in order to pronounce it correctly, but its meaning is deep and rich and you’ll love it. The word? Chesed. It’s pronounced “kheh-sed”. Try it. If you can get that k in there, it’s sounds as old and authentic and deeply biblical as it really is. But what does it mean? Ah–let me tell you!

So rich is the meaning of this word that it takes several of our words to try to describe it. Used 249 times in the Old Testament, chesed is God’s lovingkindness that endures forever. It is His mercy. It means goodness and loyalty. It means kindness. Surely He is, in His very being, the definition of chesed.

But it is not just about God’s chesed towards us. Chesed speaks of deep, covenantal relationship, and that includes our relationship to Him. As He shows us chesed in all He does for us, with us, so we can show chesed to Him when we love Him in return. Have you been loyal to God, kind towards Him, good in your heart and actions towards Him–for Him? Then you are living out chesed in your relationship with Him.

Furthermore, chesed is meant to be lived out in our interactions with others, too. Are you living out chesed with others? Are you showing a deep, loving, kindness to your neighbors, fellow Christians, a spouse, your parents, your family, your neighbors? Do you go out of your way to be kind? What about loyal? Are you loyal to those in your life who love you and care for you, for those with whom you have important relationships? Mercy, is it a character trait you are living out today and will tomorrow, too? How rich are the depths of your mercies towards others?

I ask these questions because since learning of this word, this chesed, these questions are pestering encouraging me a great deal of late, to consider how important chesed is in all of my relationships. I am convicted that I have a long way to grow in living out chesed. This new word is such a good reminder of how the Holy Spirit continues to transform and change us into Christ’s character. I’m grateful that He who first showed chesed to us, will be faithful in helping us to live it out with Him and with each other.

by Jill Cristao, Director of Connections and Communications
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