“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
Kindness, the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. Kindness is more of an external fruit compared to the other fruits we have studied in the last two weeks. Kindness shows through your actions, but you need internal fruits to prompt those actions. As I study the fruits of the Spirit for this series, I see again and again how connected they all are. I feel like kindness goes hand in hand with love and patience which we have covered in the last two weeks. Can we truly be kind without showing love and being patient? I do not think we can because having love proves itself through being kind and patient with others. Without love kindness is next to impossible. We can not be friendly, generous and considerate without love in our hearts. So what is kindness? Today we are going to seek to find a better understanding of what kindness is and how to live it out!
1. Kindness is Free.
Kindness is free, it literally costs you nothing to smile or say something nice to someone. Why is it so hard? In today’s world we see less kindness and more “every man and woman for themselves”. I sometimes wonder how many opportunities I miss to be kind, while checking my phone, while worrying about the next task or being in a hurry. What if we slowed down and just looked for opportunities to show kindness? How much would the world around us transform? How many people would come to know Jesus? Our mission as Christians is to look for opportunities to be more like Jesus. Find a need and fill it. People have needs everywhere, people are hurting everywhere, a kind word, a thoughtful action, just something to show you care can have a huge impact! Serving others feels awesome because you are serving your purpose as a Christian. Kindness is love lived out loud and it changes everything!
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
2. Kindness Takes Effort.
While Kindness is free it is not the natural thing to do. Our natural response in life is very rarely a kind one. We can get stressed, frustrated, angry, impatient, and just plain rude sometimes. And all too often the people we who receive the backlash of those emotions are people who had nothing to do with the root of the issue to begin with. They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time during our angry tirade. I think sometimes we forget that other people have emotions too, that other people have feelings. The cashier you did not speak to has feelings, the waiter who was not fast enough for you has feelings, your friends and family have feelings, be careful how you treat them. But not even just how you treat others, kindness is also your response to those who are not kind to you. This is hard one for me, I sometimes get stuck in this “you get what you give” mentality. If someone lashes out at me, give me 2.5 seconds and I am right back at them. But that’s not kindness! Kindness is treating someone the way you want to be treated not the way they treated you. Some people are just mean, I do not know why but they just are. They do not have to make you mean. And while there are people who are mean and enjoy mistreating people, most of the people we encounter are just having a bad day. We tend to allow ourselves a multitude of “bad days” but no one else is allowed to have them. There is always a bigger picture, hurting people hurt people, so show a little grace and a lot of kindness. Kindness does not give up when the going gets tough. Kindness stays anyway. Who knows you may be exactly what they person needs or say exactly what they need to hear. Stay alert and put in some effort, you never know the difference you can make.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Philippians 2:3-4
3. God Shows Us Kindness.
What better example of kindness is there than God Himself? A perfect omnipresent, omnipotent God, and yet He cares about my needs. He does not need me, yet He wants me. He loves us more than anyone else ever could. Time and time again we fail, we let Him down yet He loves us the same. He showed kindness not because we earned it, but because He is kind. His kindness turns us from our sin and into a relationship with Him. We in turn should seek to point others to Christ through our kindness. A nice word, a smile, an act of kindness, just do something. Big or small, no kindness goes unnoticed. You may never get acknowledgement or a thank-you for your kindness, but God sees it. Your kindness does not have to public to have an impact. Our reward is not here on earth, but in Heaven.
“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:4-5
“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” Romans 2:4
This fruit of the Spirit post comes with a challenge, for the next week seek do one kind thing everyday, (or more if you have the opportunity. The more the merrier.) Look for opportunities, and fill the needs. Our lives get crazy sometimes, but we are never to busy to be kind! The more opportunities you choose kindness, the easier choosing kindness will be. Because kindness is always a win-win!
Lots of Love,