FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT, Series Post No. 16
KINDNESS – A CONSTANT STATE OF READINESS TO HELP
So how do we show kindness to others – to whom should we be kind – what is kindness, after all? What does the scripture tell us about these questions?
The greatest kindness we can do for another person is to witness to them of the Great King Jesus and lead them as the Holy Spirit directs toward their salvation and spiritual growth. Most often, we do this by setting a good example as this is frequently the most effective witness of all, especially if, at the appropriate time, it is accompanied by our words telling of the gospel of the Lord Jesus as the Source of our life in Him.
For our brothers and sisters in the Lord, we help each other in faith and obedience and encourage each other when in trial or temptations. We can bring spiritual joy and strength to each other as we seek to live for Christ before meeting Him in heaven.
What does Scripture say?
We as Christians are to be kind, not only in a spiritual context but also physically, to both individuals and the world, whether or not they claim Christ as their Savior.
We are told to help others in their difficulties and calamities. See Jesus’ words in Matthew 25: 35-36.
Kindness for the Christian can be summed up as being kind in three specific ways:
- By giving to them of those things that they need and we possess.
“Give and it shall be given unto you.”
- By doing for them and making an effort to help them to improve their situation.
“For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.”
I Thessalonians 2: 9
“For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do;”
Hebrews 6: 10
- By suffering for them and assisting them in bearing their burdens and in doing everything that we can to lighten those burdens.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers”
1 John 3: 16
Now that we know that we are to be kind to others, who are the “others”? Or, another way to put it is, “to whom should we be kind?”
Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us to be kind to our neighbors, and it expands the definition of neighbor to anyone we meet along life’s way. Luke 10:29 and following.
That parable, however begs the question: what kind of people are our neighbors so that we can be kind to them?
We are to be kind both to the good and to the bad. Remember, the Holy Spirit is transforming us into the likeness of Jesus Christ … we are to imitate God. We should be kind not just those who we consider good in our own eyes.
“For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Matthew 5: 45
In this regard, Jonathan Edwards has said:
“Some are proud, some immoral, some covetous, some profane, some unjust or severe, and some despisers of God. But any or all of these bad qualities should not hinder our beneficence [kindness], nor prevent our doing them good as we have opportunity. On this very account, we should the rather be diligent to benefit them, that we may win them to Christ; and especially should we be diligent to benefit them in spiritual things.”
It also goes without need for elaboration that we should be kind to our friends. But this duty of kindness also extends to our enemies!
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
Matthew 5: 44
And, we should be kind to the thankful as well as to the unthankful. Again, this follows the example of Jesus. Luke 6: 35 says He “is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil;” It is also consistent with the command that we should be merciful as He is merciful. Luke 6:36.
How does this apply to my daily life?
We do not deserve God’s kindness and yet He is kind every moment of every day –as He showers us with His blessing and love in Christ Jesus, as He provides for our salvation and eternal life with Him, as He has given His grace and mercy in forgiveness of our sins, even the ones that we keep on doing and which He knows we will continue to do, yet in His infinite love, mercy and kindness He continues to forgive when we come to Him.
Please remember that the Holy Spirit is transforming us into the likeness of Jesus Christ … and one of Jesus’ attributes was kindness that was extended to those he encountered throughout his life, even to his executioners, including you and me. He died on the cross because of our sins, and we put him there as surely as any Roman spear or nail. Such kindness freely given to us should result in an outpouring of love and kindness by us to others, not in our human power as just one more thing we have to do but through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Kindness – it is such a common term, so flippantly used, and yet such a profound witness when it comes from a heart prompted by the Holy Spirit. It is not a last minute thought or a flippant act of little consequence as the world describes; it is a life style of placing others first, of putting yourself in subservience to others so that their needs are met; it is going the extra mile and then some, because Jesus went all the way from heaven, to earth and then to the cross for you, and for me. Such kindness cannot be repaid by any action on our part, but we can illustrate it to others as best we can, with prayerful praise and as a thankful witness for Jesus Christ our Lord.
Blessings to you and I pray that you will continue to walk with me as we learn about the fruit of the Holy Spirit and as we mature in our transformation into Christian believers who speak and act as Jesus did and who share in the passions that Jesus had for the lost sheep and for the worship of His Father, the Almighty God.