Is kindness just, “be kind”, doing good and nice things? Is it holding the door for someone whose hands are full? Is it paying for the drink for the person behind you in line? Is kindness putting out bird seed when the ground is covered in snow? Those are all nice, polite, courteous, kind things to do but if we are thinking that this is what kindness as the Fruit of the Spirit is meaning, we are missing so much of the meaning.
As we think about kindness we need to remember that this is listed in the Fruit of the Spirit. This is coming from walking by the Spirit, listening to the Spirit’s promptings and acting.
Various translations use different words for this. The ESV, NIV, and NASB use the word kindness while the KJV uses the word gentleness. Don’t worry the ESV, NIV, and NASB use the word gentleness later so we will have time to focus on that word. We will use the word, kindness, for now.
Kindness as with each of the fruit of the Spirit is an attribute of God. God is not asking us to do something and live in a way that he has not already demonstrated to us.
Pause and think about how God has demonstrated kindness both in the Bible and in your own life.
- Expelling but not killing Adam and Eve after the fall in the Garden
- Sparing Noah and his family
- Keeping his promise to Abraham
- Caring for Hagar
- Rescuing Lot
- Rescuing his people from Egypt
- Providing water and manna in the wilderness
- Shutting the mouths of the lions
Can you add more to this list?
What about in your own life? How have you seen God’s kindness?
- God’s timing was perfect in rescuing me from a situation that I didn’t know how I would survive.
- God’s provision through the years
- Friends who became family when my family was on the other side of the world
Kindness has a broad range of meanings. It can be helpful to look at these different meanings as that helps us to understand kindness. Some of the words are goodness, mercy, pity, love, grace, favour, compassion, gentleness, and tenderness. Which of those words helps you to understand kindness as a fruit of the Spirit?
Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O man what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
It is good to love kindness but how do we love kindness? The LORD requires that we love kindness so how do we do this? Kindness does not need to be big and difficult it can be a simple thing, a kind word or a kind act. Our kindness should reflect God’s kindness towards us.
Paul writes, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
We are commanded to be kind and it further tells us to be tenderhearted which just gives a bit of insight into how to be kind. We see the example of how God was kind to us he forgave us.
Our kindness needs to be a reflection of God’s kindness towards us. How have you seen God kind to you?