Pamela Myers Palmer
"Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor."
The idea of kindness is trendy nowadays. I see slogans and t-shirts telling people to be kind, and initiatives urging us to choose kindness. We are encouraged in society to treat others with kindness, and foster kind attitudes towards others. Certainly, most of us know the great benefit of being the recipient of someone's kind words or actions, right? Kindness seems like a no-brainer, for even nonbelievers value kindness. But the reality is that kindness doesn't come naturally. Real kindness takes empowerment by the Holy Spirit. Kindness isn't important because it's trendy, it is significant because it's a fruit of the Spirit we should take great strides to bear.
"Kindness costs nothing but means everything."
Was I kind to the lady who pushed her way in front of me at the grocery story? Was I kind to the person I cut off? Was I kind to the cashier that was taking too long? Was I kind to the person who accidentally knocked over my coffee? Was I kind in how I replied to my friend who said something that bothered me?
We have plenty of chances each day to either show kindness, or to let our quick and often selfish responses get the best of us. Some days, I find myself having to work at kindness. Some moments, I immediately regret my words or my actions that clearly lacked kindness. And I find myself truly wanting to be more kind. Maybe you've had similar thoughts cross your mind after an encounter you wish had gone another way. Or a situation where you missed an opportunity to show kindness.
Though kindness doesn't always come easy, we were made to show kindness. That type of kindness that is possible only through the Holy Spirit. The sort kindness that we're supposed to bear as believers because it has the potential to change hearts and draw people to Jesus. When I walk away from a situation and realize I lacked kindness, I wonder what prevented me from being kind. Was it anger? Was it self-centeredness? Was it impatience? A lack of empathy?
Kindness is more than just being a pushover or letting someone have their way. Kindness is putting the other first. Kindness is slowing down and taking the time to give an encouraging word, or smile, or gesture. Kindness is letting God use you to take care of someone else. Kindness is giving the extra offering. Kindness is cheerfully taking someone without a car to work or grocery shop. Kindness is inviting someone over for a meal when they're having a hard time. Kindness is sending a text message or making a call to someone who is lonely or grieving.
"Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity to be kind." L.A. Seneca
Now more than ever, kindness is needed. Many feel lonely and anxious, and our whole world has been turned upside down. Kindness inspires hope. Kindness will allow you to rise above fear to help others during a time when so many are truly in need.
Jesus expected His followers to be kind, but not in vain. Consider how you can open your heart to show more kindness, and what it means for you to bear the fruit of kindness. When we are kind, we make a lasting difference for someone else. And when we are kind, we will experience life, goodness, and blessing. Bearing the fruit of the Spirit will make our lives more abundant and righteous, and help us stay on the path God has prepared for us.
Let us pray
Heavenly Father, thank you that in a world that can be so cruel, selfish, and hateful, you call us as believers to be kind. You instruct us to love others, to serve others, and to be kind where it is needed most. Help each of us to figure out how we need to show more kindness. Help us to let go of hurts, forgive, and open our hearts to taking the risk of being more kind to those we encounter. Let the Spirit work in us that we may bear this fruit in your name. Amen.
More in the Fruit of the Spirit series: