Let us start today with a prayer:
Lord…We humbly come to you in this time of need! You created a paradise and yet sin has tainted the beauty of your creation. We look around and are overwhelmed by images of a broken world. Galatians 5 reminds us that we see “hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, dissensions, and factions.” The front pages are filled with stories of bigotry, anger, and violence. Lord, heal hearts and bring about unity and change. Lord, guide leaders to lead with wisdom, compassion, integrity. Help each of us to take a close look inside ourselves so that we individually would assess and confess our sinfulness…to repent of our thoughts, words, and actions…to look for opportunities to build bridges…to pray for and to point others to you and your Love. Let us each reach out to someone who is hurting. Lord, fill us with your Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control. Lord be with those who are impacted by the pandemic…and those that are impacted by the violence and rioting that has emerged this weekend. Lord we seek peace in our land…and yet it begins with your Peace in our hearts. Amen.
For the last few days we have been looking at the FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. We have been focusing on Galatians 5:22…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
We’re not speaking of spiritual apples, grapes, pears, or peaches here. We’re talking about what’s going on in the orchard of your life. We acknowledged that we are all sinful and fall short…. And we celebrate the fact that God loves us anyway! “Christian character” follows faith and is produced by the Holy Spirit…not by merely trying to live by the law. The indwelling Holy Spirit produces faith and Christian virtues. If the goal of the Christian life may be stated as Christlikeness, then surely every trait developed in us that reflects His character must be fruit that is very pleasing to Him. Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit in nine terms. I am going to take each of these characteristics one per day. So far, we have looked at LOVE, JOY, PEACE, and PATIENCE.
Today we will look at KINDNESS.
- Have you ever had someone send you a card thanking you for an act of kindness?
- Did you notice the look on someone’s face when you showed them kindness?
- Have you ever called, texted, or sent a card thanking someone for their kindness to you?
We looked at “love” the other day….and kindness is love in action. It is being supportive and sympathetic. It is looking out for the needs of others, especially those that are hurting. To reach out to comfort, help, pray for them, and to walk alongside them (and that is exactly what our nation needs right now!)
Sam was invited to his friend John’s home for dinner. John had been married to his wife for nearly fifty years, so Sam was pleasantly surprised at the kindness that John showed his wife. John preceded every request to his wife by endearing terms, calling her Honey, My Love, Darling, Sweetheart, Pumpkin, etc. John hung his head and whispered, “To tell the truth, I forgot her name three years ago.”
SO…that is not what the fruit of KINDNESS is all about!
- Kindness is defined in the dictionary as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Affection, gentleness, warmth, concern, and care are words that are associated with kindness. While kindness has a connotation of meaning someone is naive or weak, that is not the case. Being kind often requires courage and strength.
- Biblically Kindness is selfless, compassionate, and merciful; its greatest power revealed in practice to our enemies and amongst the least of these. We are called to Love your neighbor; show kindnessto EVERYONE. For a perfect emblem of Biblical kindness, we need look no further than Jesus! He came that ALL would be saved.
- Kindness is a garment that you are to wear…. something that can be seen.
Col 3:12-14… Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Did you notice that it says to “clothe yourself” with these virtues…many of these words are included in the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT section that we have been looking at! We get up in the morning and choose what clothes to put on…what we will wear…what others will see on us. So, do you put on kindness. Do others see and hear kindness in your words, actions, motives, passions, and purpose in life? Do you show kindness without expecting anything in return?
Philip McLarty writes…In 1976 I helped lead a youth group on a trip to Washington, D.C. We called it the “Citizenship Seminar.” It was an effort to help high school students make the connection between the world of politics and religion. One of the high points of our trip was a visit with Senator John Tower who, at the time, was Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He received us into his office graciously and addressed our questions candidly. One the students asked him about world hunger and the United States foreign aid policy. I’ll always remember what he said. He said, “Food is our Number One political weapon.” Then he went on to explain that, in exchange for grain and other commodities, we expected cooperation and certain concessions from developing countries. I was shocked and dismayed by what he said, and I told him so. He was diplomatic and polite and, in so many words, told me I was naïve.
Perhaps he was right. Only this I know: Acts of kindness with a hook are anything but kind. True kindness expects nothing in return, except the satisfaction of doing what’s right.
I can’t help but think of Jesus’ kindness for the lost, the hurt, the sick, the poor! If we are to become more Christlike each and every day…then we need to treat all people the same as Jesus would!
Julia Carney wrote these words in the mid-19th Century. They still speak to us today:
“Little drops of water, little grains of sand,
make the mighty ocean and the beauteous land.
And the little moments, humble though they may be,
make the mighty ages of eternity.
Little deeds of kindness, little words of love,
make our earth an Eden, like the heaven above.”
I like to think it’s the little acts of kindness that often go unnoticed that have the best chance of transforming the world around us into the kingdom of God.
So…as always, these devotions are meant to impact you, to draw you closer to the Lord and His Word:
- Who do you know that needs an act of kindness from you? Maybe a smile across the path as you walk? Maybe some help with their yard work? Maybe an offer to shop if they are staying in place? Maybe a surprise plate of cookies? Maybe a phone call to break up someone’s day and to let them know that you care?
- When you think of “kind” people in your life…who comes to mind? Learn from them! Let them know that you appreciate their kindness.
- Be open to God nudging you to random acts of kindness.
- Pray for the Spirit to produce Fruit of the Spirit in your life including more KINDNESS!