Killing with Kindness: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, KINDNESS, goodness, gentleness and faithfulness” (Galatians 5:22).

Like you, my desire is for the Holy Spirit to develop all of His fruit in my life. I want all eight of his characteristics to be evident in my life. Recently, I saw a bowl of plastic grapes in a craft shop with the individual names of the above listed fruit painted on them. It dawned on me that we need to “cluster” toward maturity! One translation says, “When the Spirit fills, He will develop the following characteristics in your life…”

2020 was quite a year. Early on, we witnessed presidential impeachment proceedings. Who would have guessed that a pandemic would close down our nation and create widescale unemployment; that subsequent to the murder of George Floyd, major city riots would fill our streets; that politicians would verbally battle one another with such intensity? Surely, a spirit of lawlessness has broken loose in many sectors of society.

As I write this, my heart is heavy. I’m again drawn to prayer, asking the Lord to break my heart over those things that break His. Rise up, prayer warriors!

Back to kindness. How is it defined? “The quality of being friendly, generous and considerate.” Some suggest that kindness is weakness, but I contend that kind people are not necessarily “pushovers.” Sometimes the kindest thing we can do is call to task people who tend to be bullies or unruly. Kindness and meekness are “first cousins.” Someone described meekness as “steel wrapped in velvet.” Moses was described as the meekest man on earth (Numbers 12:3); however, there were times when he had to assert himself.

Not to brag, but many describe me as a kind man. Unfortunately, on occasion I’ve had to exercise church discipline through sternness. This has seemed incongruous to some, because that does not look like the “normal me.” However, while kindness is a pacesetter, at times it has to function in a straight-forward manner. In short, kindness never allows individuals to operate outside healthy boundaries.

God wants to develop His fruit inside us, and wants us to incorporate them into our daily living. Oh, my Christian friend, let the Holy Spirit make you a kind person.

Can we get back to practicing this wonderful virtue?

Sometimes when out and about, I am met with “unkindness.” “F-Bombs” are being dropped enmasse. It seems to have accelerated. Previously mentioned national crises have unnerved the best of us. People are fearful, and uncertainties abound. Kind words go a long way as we interact, in this day of social distancing.

We need a revival of kindness. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Kill them with kindness.” Don’t react. Act with kindness. Watch as unkind words and deeds meet “kindness” head on and reversals take place!

All people, everywhere need an encounter of the saving kind with Jesus Christ, who was the epitome of kindness. He said through His Apostle, “Be kind one to another…” (Ephesians 4:32). Who can you purposely show kindness to today?

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