As Christ followers we don't talk about kindness enough. We opine about doctrine and many essential elements of our faith but rarely do we speak about being kind.
Kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness..." I think kindness is one of those important fruits that Christ followers need to nurture in their lives. Kindness is having a generous and loving heart toward other people even when they are different to us. And by different, I do mean everyone, everywhere.
So here are three reasons why I think that showing kindness and perpetually practicing this fruit of the Spirit is so important:
- Kindness to others reveals God: Vitriolic and unkind Christians do not showcase the love of their God. I am surprised by the unkind comments Christians make about other people in the social media. I am even more amazed at the way Christians use their social platforms to attack other Christians. Shame on all of us—that is certainly not practicing the fruit of kindness. When we are kind to each other and to the other we reveal the heart of our loving God. The bible exhorts us to be kind to fellow believers (Ephesians 4:32). So, let us be respectful of each other even when our doctrine differs. And, above all, let us show kindness to those who do not ascribe to our faith.
- Kindness leads people to God: Our culture is shifting. Many of the values that Christians hold dear are being questioned by society. The question of gender and sexual orientation is an ongoing topic of debate. Whatever we think about these controversial issues—and I understand that Christians feel strongly about particular topics—whatever opinion we hold, I think it is essential that we show kindness to all people everywhere. Interestingly, it is the fruit of kindness that is intended to lead to repentance (Romans 2:4). Christ followers should treat all people with kindness even if they are different. When others don't share our values and traditions we should still treat them with respect. If I were a person who had no faith and I was treated venomously (as some Christians have been known to do) I would certainly not be attracted to that particular brand of faith. Even when people are enemies, we need to show them kindness (Luke 6:35), Jesus called us to love our enemies and to do good to them. Kindness will achieve Kingdom results— meanness will not.
- Kindness is Healing: Being kind does not always mean that we are nice. Sometimes to be kind means being truthful and telling people what is wrong. That can feel like a blow to the stomach. It can knock the wind out of a person. Being kind does not mean we compromise our beliefs, but it does mean we never compromise the fruits of the Spirit. Yes, I have seen kindness in action. When we have treated other people (whose lifestyles we do not agree with) with respect and kindness we have seen them open up their hearts to hear our perspective. And, even if they never agree with us, we never stop showing them love and kindness. Who would ever want to listen to someone who we perceive is judgmental and hateful?
I will end this blog by asking a question: Are you kind? Does your life reveal the kindness of the God you love? Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit, but it also yields fruit in our lives and the people we shower with kindness. Yes, (Proverbs 21:21), says "Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor."
Open your heart to God and allow Him to reveal His kindness to others through you.
I am and always will be,
recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,