Day 5 of our Fruit of the Spirit Challenge guest blog by Debra. This is getting real. Only God can produce these fruit in me. How about you?
Kindness. In a preschool classroom, I remind the children to be kind to each other. God is asking us as adults to be kind to one another also. Kind to our spouse, kind to our children (no matter how big or small), kind to our neighbors, kind to our co-workers, kind to the clerk in the store. You get the idea.
What is kindness? Some synonyms: benevolence, generosity, charity, sympathy, compassion, tenderness. An antonym: cruel.
So, think about the words we use as we communicate with others. Even if there needs to be a correction given, we can still be kind. Our words need to be ones that encourage and lift one another up, not tear anyone down. My heart aches when I overhear someone speaking harshly to another, when they are saying things that are cruel and demeaning, especially to children. I pray for the recipients that they come to know our Savior who thinks only the best of them and loves them more than they can imagine!
Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
When God says to “clothe yourselves”, can you see the picture? To choose these from our closet and put them on so that others can see (and hear) what we are wearing. It is a choice we make every day in what to wear, hopefully with the intent to honor God in all that we do and say. Sometimes we need to make that choice hourly!
Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Kindness includes forgiving others. Sometimes that is tough to do. God set the bar pretty high when He told us to forgive others like He forgave us. And He says that if we want Him to forgive us, then we need to forgive others. And if we don’t forgive others, He will not forgive us. (Matthew 6:14)
Proverbs 11:17 “A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.”
Proverbs 14:21 “He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.”
Proverbs 14:31 “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”
God really does love and care about each and every person, and He wants us to do the same. Someone who is needy might be someone we know or a stranger. Watch for ways to be kind – maybe a smile, maybe a hug, maybe a kind and encouraging word, maybe a helping hand, maybe cookies for the neighbor who irritates you. (That was for me to do!) Ask God for practical ways to be kind to someone in need that will show them the love of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”
1 Thessalonians 5:15 “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.”
As believers in Jesus Christ, we are commanded to love and be kind. Even in difficult situations or relationships, we are told to be kind. We are never given an excuse not to be – no matter how other people are acting or treating us. When it seems like that might be impossible, that is when the Holy Spirit reminds us that He is living within us to help us do the impossible!