Fruit of the Spirit – Kindness

kindness

A few months ago I decided to write a little on the ‘Fruits of the Spirit’ as part of my journey as a Christian woman.  I am always amazed at how the words of Jesus have spoken directly to my heart and helped me when I needed it.  I also am a believer that the the bible is “LIVING” and when we come to the word of God and pray that the words do shed a light and help us.  So before I leave on my trip to India I want to see if I can’t finish this exploration.

Kindness
Kindness is a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions.

Your greatness is measured by your kindness; your education and intellect by your modesty; your ignorance is betrayed by your suspicions and prejudices, and your real caliber is measured by the consideration and tolerance you have for others.

—William J.H. Boetcker (1873-1962)

You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.

—Martin Luther (1483-1546)
German Friar, Catholic Priest, Professor Of Theology

When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.

—The 14th Dalai Lama (1935)
Head Monk Of The Gelugpa Lineage Of Tibetan Buddhism

We rise by lifting others.

—Robert Ingersoll (-)
Lawyer, A Civil War Veteran, Political Leader, And Orator Of United States

If you Google “kindness quotes” you will be overcome by how many there are!  Theologians, leaders from every world religion, actors, writers, inventors, scholars, lawyers, and so many more share thoughts on kindness!  You would think then if so many “important” people are writing on the virtues of kindness that our world would indeed be a kind place.  When you walk out the door do you experience kindness more often than rudeness?  Interesting thought.  I will bet you a nickel that you will remember the person who showed you a kindness.  That person made you feel good for a moment in your day and it changed you just a little for some length of time.  It is a feeling that I hope would lead you to offer to another!  But our world is also full of people who cut in line, insult those around them, don’t open doors for old ladies and people with groceries, laugh at others’ misfortunes and try to show their superiority by dragging others down. These people I believe equate kindness with weakness or think small acts of kindness are frivolous and unimportant.  Yet there are also many people who let others go ahead of them in line, compliment those around them, hurry to open doors for people, sympathize with others’ misfortune and show their humility and willingness to serve others. It’s easy to pick out the people who are showing kindness!  Unfortunately, people who base their thinking on a “survival of the fittest” mentality may not see the rationale for true kindness. People like to receive it, but often don’t really see the benefit of being kind.

Kindness is listed as a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. The Greek word translated kindness here is “the divine kindness out of which God acts toward humankind. It is what the [Old Testament] means when it declares that ‘God is good,’ as it so frequently does. Christians should show kindness by behaving toward others as God has behaved toward them.” Basically it means “doing thoughtful deeds to others.”

Proverbs 20:28 describes qualities God wants in a leader: “Mercy and truth preserve the king, and by lovingkindness he upholds his throne” (emphasis added throughout).

Throughout the Bible, two other qualities are often associated with kindness: love and mercy. Peter wrote of adding love to “brotherly kindness” (2 Peter 1:7), while Paul wrote about putting on “tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering” (Colossians 3:13).

What is kindness? It is based on the mind-set described in Philippians 2:3-4: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

I believe that kindness is humbly giving of ourselves in love and mercy to others who may not be able to give anything back, who sometimes don’t deserve it, and who frequently don’t thank us for it. Basically kindness means a way of thinking that leads to doing thoughtful deeds for others.

Kindness self-examination questionnaire

  1.  Does the kindness I show to others reflect God’s kindness to me? Examples?
  2. Do I seek to gain from the kindness I show, or is it pure kindness? How do I know?
  3. Do my kind acts have the components of mercy, love and compassion? How so?
  4. When I am truly able, how much do I sacrifice for others instead of showing selfishness?

Maybe today or this week you can practice some random acts of kindness along with me.  I like the questions above too and I will spend some time answering them as well.

If you are stuck for ideas let me suggest a few:

  1. Give a true compliment.
  2. Interact with strangers instead of just walking by them or looking down at the ground (open doors for them, smile, say hello, help them carry something).
  3. Make room for kindness in your personality and daily schedules.

Please share with me an act of kindness you were shown or you gave!  I would truly love to hear about it.

Have a blessed day!

 

 

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