Read: Ephesians 4:32
Whether you grew up attending church or not, I bet you heard some version of Ephesians 4:32. Our parents, our grandparents, and most adults in our lives have stressed to be kind to others. But, what does that REALLY mean? Webster’s says “kind” as an adjective means “having or showing a gentle nature and a desire to help others.” Wouldn’t it be nice for the world to be flooded with people who have and show a gentle nature and a desire to help others? Many would think that sounds far-fetched in a world full of selfies, a world of “it’s all about me”, and a world full of rudeness. But, I know just Who can make it happen…His name is Jesus, and He can fill us with His Holy Spirit to produce kindness among many other wonderful attributes. Let’s dive in and discuss this week's fruit, kindness.
When I think about being kind, I don’t think it is a big deal or really that difficult. But then I read the definitions and dig to see what it really means and my opinion changes. The Greek word for kindness means, “a nature permeated by kindness”, “reasonable with sweetness.” Barnes Notes on the Bible describes it as “mildness of temper, calmness of spirit, and unruffled disposition.” It is hard to hold my temper in check sometimes, especially when I am driving! I like to get to the red light first. I like to set a time limit in my head and arrive at my destination within that time limit. I definitely struggle when someone is in the passing lane going really slow and holding up everyone behind him or her. So, even in something as simple as driving, my nature isn’t permeated with kindness. I don’t have a calmness of spirit or an unruffled disposition. Maybe being kind is harder than I thought!
It is hardest for me to model kindness with people who continually make the same mistakes over and over, especially if they have asked for my advice and then blatantly done something else. I should love, listen and encourage. Often times I tune them out, show little to no love, and become a discourager. My heart grows hard, and I am so far away from being the person that God expects me to be.
Even though it is hard, Scripture tells me that I am supposed to display kindness. Paul says this to us in Colossians 3, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” This quality is so important that we are to get up and put it on every morning just like we put on our pants or shoes. It is supposed to be a part of who we are on a daily basis.
Jesus modeled kindness. In Titus 3:4, we find that kindness is what led God to provide salvation for us! Talk about being kind!!! Mark 6:34 tells us when Jesus saw a large crowd, “He had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” I know that none of us are Jesus. But, we are called in Scripture to be like Jesus.
One of the ways we act like Jesus is to show kindness to everyone who crosses our path. Recently, one of my friends who is a teacher in a public school received a note from one of her students. The note said, “Mrs. Lee, I am so glad you are my Eagle’s Nest teacher. You have kind written on your heart. Your friend, Kylie.” My friend posted it on Facebook to show the kind heart of this 8-year-old little girl. Kylie recognized what Mrs. Lee has written on her heart…kindness. Mrs. Lee has obviously been cultivating that piece of the fruit of the Spirit in her life.
We can cultivate this fruit by focusing on the fruits listed in Galatians 5:22-23 that come before kindness in the list. Remember...Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Love...remember that you are loved by God. Joy...we can have joy because we have a relationship with Jesus Christ forever. Peace...because we serve a God who loves us and is in control of all things. Patience...we can have patience with others because He has been patient with us. If we are full of love, joy, peace, and patience, then kindness will surely be written on our hearts.
What about you…what's written on your heart?
Answer the following questions either in the comments section below or join the conversation with our Facebook Community Group. We'll be sharing our responses, too! #undividedwomen
When is it most difficult for you to display kindness? What has helped you display kindness in difficult situations?