Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:22-26

The Bible commands us to show kindness to others in Zechariah 7:9-10 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart."

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary tells us what kindness is with wonderful clarity.

1. Good will; benevolence; that temper or disposition which delights in contributing to the happiness of others, which is exercised cheerfully in gratifying their wishes, supplying their wants or alleviating their distresses; benignity of nature. Kindness ever accompanies love.
2. Act of good will; beneficence; any act of benevolence which promotes the happiness or welfare of others. Charity, hospitality, attentions to the wants of others, &c., are deemed acts of kindness, or kindnesses. Acts.28.

Some people seem to have mastered the art of kindness. My Grandma is a perfect example of this. We stayed at her home all last week, and we were showered with kindnesses the entire time. She delights in “contributing to the happiness of others,” and she gave us all her time. Grandma made fabulous meals for us and we were sent home with lunch and goodies that could have lasted us on a drive twice as long. It is not only to her family that she shows this kindness. We were able to meet many of her friends, and she is acknowledged everywhere as a wonderful hostess and woman of God.

“Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.” Proverbs 21:21

In what ways can we be kind? It could be writing a letter, taking tea to someone, voluntarily doing your sibling’s chore, or just being available to talk and help. How often do we do these and other similar kindnesses to our families, friends and acquaintances? The answer is, most likely, not enough.

"He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” Job 6:14

People are born selfish. In our earliest days we beg to be served and provided for. We love kindness when it is bestowed upon us. It is all about me, me, me! The question might arise in our minds: Why would I do her chore or be patient and listen to him? They won’t return the kindness! It won’t do me any good!

Does it need to benefit us before we commit a kindness? It is a requirement of God to love kindness and exercise it humbly and cheerfully (Micah 6:8).

Although kindness should never be done out of selfish reasons with the intent of making them do something nice back, Luke 6:38 makes it clear that when you give it will be given to you, pressed down, and running over. Has anyone ever done anything for you? What did you feel like doing to them? It is natural to want to do something kind back. Friendships are built, and torn relationships can be healed.

Kindness of any kind is impossible without the Lord. Pray right now for His help and guidance. What can we do today for our parents, brothers, and sisters?


Wholesome Works said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip, good post!


abby said...

wonderful post, as usual!;) Also, I am sorry I haven't replied to the last e-mail you sent me. I have been awful lately abour replying. But I will, at some point!;)


Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

That's fine, Abby. I know how busy things can get. I am looking forward to hearing from you.