Living the Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

When someone says the word ‘kindness,’ what we think of can be a mixture of other words as we consider how to define it. We think about how people are nice; that they act in a loving way; or that people who are kind must be generous.

All these simple descriptions are a part of what it means to be kind. I suppose we can also consider how another person perceives what we think is a kindness on our part. However, it’s a pretty sure thing that when we act out of love and humility and when we are kind in an obviously selfless way, people are more open to us and will name ‘kindness’ for what it is. Sometimes kindness can be shown by just using good manners.

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12

In relationships, we can show kindness by treating friends graciously even during challenging times. We are kind to someone we call ‘friend’ when we accept them for who they are, not expecting them to fulfill our definition of what they should be. In healthy relationships, we’re honest, firm, and gentle when the friendship is challenged by discord. What’s sometimes difficult for me is being honest and firm in a kind way.

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

Sometimes we fail to be kind because we just don’t think of it. We create busy lives and we don’t make acts of kindness a habit. We’re rushing right past people who need it.

But there’s comfort in knowing that it’s only through God’s Spirit that kindness can be a consistent part of a believer’s experience. Quite simply, we surrender to the Holy Spirit and listen for the prompts to act kindly. That’s how we live the fruit of the Spirit; by surrendering to him.

Most people are familiar with the term Random Acts of Kindness. And people are familiar with a variety of popular ways to show kindness in an ordinary day. Like holding a door open for someone, or paying for the order of the stranger behind us in line at the drive-through.

Here are some other ideas: Offer someone your pen and let them keep it. Give your umbrella to a stranger. Write someone an encouraging note. Tape a microwave popcorn packet to a movie rental kiosk and leave a short note telling them you hope they enjoy the movie. Pick up litter on the beach. Donate your cut hair to a charity that makes and distributes wigs made from the donated hair. Send care packages to military personnel overseas.

On the website The Kind Blog, stories about how folks are being kind are the norm. Truly, kindness shows people that you believe they have value.

Regardless of how you define ‘kindness,’ God rewards you when you choose to selflessly help others. Make it a point to perform random acts of kindness today and to top it off, don’t let anyone else find out.

Father, you are the example of kindness I will emulate today. With my eyes on you and your character, I’ll learn more and more how to show kindness the same ways you’ve shown it to me. Thank you for giving us opportunities to be kind. Guide us to kindness so we’ll act on them. For your sake and for your glory, amen.

Be a blessing to someone today.

 

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