But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Over the last several weeks I have looked at the fruit of the Spirit–love, joy, peace and patience. Today I will be looking at kindness.
Kindness is the act of meeting the needs of someone else. It is not being harsh with other people.
The world is always looking for people to be kind. Everyone wants others to be kind to them, to not hurt them or do anything wrong to them. However, many people are not really that kind to others. Harsh words are said. Lying to others occurs. Cheating on others occurs. Violence and abuse is rampant. Hatred abounds.
The believer, the follower of Jesus is to be different.
Throughout the bible many people requested of others to be shown kindness. They did not want to be harmed in any way. There were some that did show kindness.
Naomi exclaimed that Boaz had shown great kindness when he provided food for Ruth.
In 2 Chronicles 2, David gave honor to the men from Jabesh Gilead for their kindness in burying Saul after he was killed. This honor was given when the kindness was shown to his enemy, who was out to kill him.
David later wants to show kindness to anyone who was left from the house of Saul, his enemy. He understood God’s kindness to him and wanted to pass that on to others. The interesting thing with David is that he is showing kindness to the family of his mortal enemy. As king, he had the right to destroy all of Saul’s family line, but he chose instead to show God’s kindness.
“In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer. Isaiah 54:8
Isaiah quotes God in talking about His kindness. God was angry with Israel for rebelling against Him and following false gods, but He chose instead to be kind to them with compassion, giving them what they really needed.
Years later Jesus gives a parable about the good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37. This man showed kindness to the enemy. He had the man given right to ignore the man on the side of the road, but chose to help him instead. He not only helped him in the short term of getting him to the hospital, but took care of all of his expenses.
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4
Paul points out the value of God’s kindness. It is because of His great kindness that one is led to Him to repent. God is not a God who just judges harshly and condemns everyone. God wants to save people. He wants a relationship with people. If He were not kind, then we would never have a chance to be saved. We would be afraid to repent, because we would fear harsh judgment.
Let a righteous man strike me–that is kindness; let him rebuke me–that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers. Psalm 141:5
Most people take offense at a rebuke, but David had a different thought on what a rebuke may look like. A rebuke is a harsh condemning of an action or word and is thus usually hated. He saw a rebuke from a righteous (believer) person as good. He saw a rebuke as an act of kindness. This rebuke would cause him to refocus back onto God and check himself in his actions and words. Not giving a rebuke would be to allow a person to continue to live in sin or in a wrong way. Kindness will point Him towards God and His word.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12
The final verse I want to look at is written by Paul in Colossians. He tells the Colossian church to clothe themselves with kindness. This should be a mark of the believer.
There are many more examples of the kindness of Jesus shown in the gospels. He was kind to the blind, the lame, the lepers, the drunkards, the adulterers, and sinners. The only people Jesus was not very kind to were those who claimed to know God, but went against God in what they did and taught.
Every day you will have plenty of opportunities to show kindness to others. It could be in the checkout lane at the store, at a gas station, driving down the road, passing by a person on the sidewalk or many other places and situations.
You will have many people who are enemies to you. They will harm you either physically or emotionally with words. When this occurs you will have a choice to either retaliate in anger and vengeance or to return their harm with the kindness and love of God.
Being a believer you will have God’s Holy Spirit in you. With His Holy Spirit in you, you should be displaying His kindness towards everyone. This is another fruit of the Spirit.
If you examine your life and find you are lacking in the area of kindness, seek God for help. Examine how God has shown you kindness and then become more like Jesus in showing kindness towards others. Let your life be marked by one as having kindness towards everyone.
The fruit of the Spirit continues to grow from each one to the next. As you have God’s love showing in your life, you will have His joy, which will bring about His peace, which will bring about His forbearance/patience, which will bring about His kindness in your life. These are the first four fruits that should be evident in your life when you are following Jesus and are filled with His Holy Spirit.
Thank you for continuing on this journey of looking at the fruit of the Spirit. Next week I will continue on with looking at goodness.