But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.Galatians 5:22-23
Welcome back to my “Fruit of the Spirit” series! Today we will be discussing the fruit of kindness. Here are the links to the previous four if you missed them:
I have found kindness to be an interesting fruit to write about because, in my mind, it is very similar to the fruit of love. Sure, they have different connotations in my brain: love is red and heart-shaped, and often evokes a picture of Jesus on the cross or something similar; while kindness is pink or yellow and maybe looks more like smiles and sunflowers (and Disney’s “Choose Kindness” campaign). It’s almost as if love is stronger, deeper, richer…and kindness is for the weak or simply something we teach in kindergarten. Do you feel that way too? But, to be kind to someone…doesn’t that mean you “do unto them as you would have them do unto you”? Isn’t being kind to someone the same thing as showing them the love of Jesus?
Kindness isn’t just a “less intense” form of love–something that you would extend toward your neighbors and co-workers instead of the “deeper” love you reserve for your inner circle. Kindness is just as important, and just as much of a heart posture, as any of the other fruits. And it certainly doesn’t mean that all you ever think about are rainbows and cotton candy. Kindness isn’t just for kids…it’s for everybody, but specifically Spirit-led followers of Christ.
Kindness Requires Humility
When we are faced with an opportunity to be genuinely kind, we are often also faced with the dilemma of sacrificing something of ourselves. It often requires us to go out of our way, or go some place uncomfortable–like Jesus (as a Jew) choosing to walk through Samaria. Kindness is putting the needs of others above our own and respecting them as a person despite our differences. It’s choosing to say, “You know what? I’m not any better than you, because the Bible says we’re all created in the image of God.” Choosing to be kind in our actions is how we demonstrate the love of God.
“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant.” (1 Corinthians 13:4)
“Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)
As Christians, we should strive to always remain humble and kind. We need to walk with our eyes open and our focus outward.
Kindness Means Forgiveness and Mercy
“Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.” (Colossians 3:12-13)
Kindness and love cannot co-exist with bitterness and hate. To be kind is to put the past behind you and forgive the other person. To be kind is to see the person, not the mistake. A kind person will not hold a grudge. Because…
Kindness Is Not Always Deserved
“But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us–not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy–through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:4-5)
We have received the greatest, most undeserved act of kindness of all: salvation through Jesus Christ. We could not earn His kindness even if we tried. Because of this, we should extend kindness to everyone–even to those who cannot or will not show us kindness in return.
Being kind does not necessarily mean you will be liked. Kindness does not seem to be a very popular concept today. Many are self-absorbed and doing everything they can to get their own way. But don’t let the negativity and self-centeredness of the world keep you from showing kindness. Not even Jesus Himself was welcomed by everyone. We may get haughty looks of rejection, mocking laughs of superiority, or maybe even glaring questions of motives. But Christ was and is kind toward us, and we are called to walk as He walked. If the Spirit is in us and we walk according to His ways, we will bear the fruit of kindness.
When Christians take a stand and do the unexpected, kindness still has a chance to peek through the clouds of hate and illuminate the truth of the gospel.
“Or do you despise the riches of his kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)
Let us choose to be a light, and to be kind in this world full of hate and animosity. We don’t have to and shouldn’t accept the ways of the world, but we can still choose to be kind. We can be welcoming and nonjudgmental even while redirecting.
You Will Reap What You Sow
The Bible tells us that a man will reap what he sows; doesn’t it make sense that a person who sows kindness will reap kindness? It may not always be returned to us from this world, but remember that God sees everything we do and will reward us for even the smallest acts of kindness done with the motive of love.
“Kindness to the poor is a loan to the Lord, and he will give a reward to the lender.” (Proverb 19:17)
“The one who despises his neighbor sins, but whoever shows kindness to the poor will be happy.” (Proverbs 14:21)
Here are a few songs about kindness for you to listen to this week:
- “Revolutionary” by Josh Wilson
- “Fall into Kindness” by NCC Worship
- “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw (not necessarily a Christian song, but I still like it)
That’s all for now, but I hope and pray that you will take the initiative to be kind this week. I will see y’all for the next post about “goodness.” 🙂 ❤