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Article 7

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Treat all people with kindness

 

 

The fruit of the Spirit
 

A tree (person) is known by the type of fruit it (he/she) bears

The apostle Paul in Galatians talks about the fruit of the Spirit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

When we walk through the countryside we usually see trees across the landscape. As we look at each tree, we can identify the type of tree it is, by the fruit it bears. God does the same observation and identification with us. Our behaviour reveals to him what type of person we are. The fruit of the Spirit verses show what attributes we need to develop to be pleasing to God (and be good Christians).
 

One of these fruits is kindness. Kindness could be described as a sincere desire for the happiness of others.
 

God and kindness
 

God gives his love to not only those who he sees as his friends, but also to all mankind. In relation to this, Jesus said these words:

so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45

God is kind to the good. But he is also kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Luke 6:35

This is a characteristic of God that Christians have taken into their heart. Christians try to be thoughtful and compassionate with their friends. However, they try to take it a step further and be kind to others as well, when the opportunity arises. They may do things for other people, but never receive any thanks for it.

Christians know that God is kind to them. This inspires them to, in turn, show the same kindness to other people, whether they be family, friends or associates who they meet. Christians can see that God seeks out those who are lost and need help. As a result, of these observations, followers of Jesus attempt to do the same and find people that are in need.  

The priority for our kindness

When a Christian is kind to others - is there any group of people who should be the recipient of your kindness over others? The Bible suggests to us that there is:

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.  Galatians 6:10 NIV

As a Christian we need to be kind and do good for all people of the Earth. But our first acts of kindness should be to our fellow believers.

Jesus tells us:

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself” Matthew 6:31-34

Our Heavenly Father knows what we need now and in the future and he has promised to provide us with food and raiment (1 Timothy 6:8). So we shouldn’t be stressed about our current life.

After providing for our own household, the surplus should be disbursed to help with the necessities of others. In addition, we should consider doing works of a charitable nature as the opportunities present themselves. This kindness should be firstly focused on our fellow believers and then afterwards on all other people.

Jesus showed kindness to all men - it didn’t matter whether he was Jew, or a Samaritan, or a full Gentile. It didn’t matter whether he or she was old or young, and it didn’t matter whether they were rich or poor. This follows the principles of Galatians 6:10 (see above) – do good to all people.

Do to others what you want them to do to you

I think most people get a warm feeling inside when someone is kind to you. It is a nice feeling. If we appreciate this kindness given to us, just think how others may feel when you are kind to them.

Jesus told his disciples to do to others what they want to have done to themselves. So this is hinting at the fact that we need to teach ourselves to view life from the perspective of others. If we do that then it will make it easier for us to be kind to others.

For those times we want to be unkind

Unfortunately, sometimes we may think about being unkind to others. Before you go ahead with that unkindness read this verse first (for it will hopefully stop you):

so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:7

Think of God’s kindness to us by sending his son, Jesus Christ. God loves us and shows kindness to us even when we don’t deserve it. How can we be unkind to others when we have such a great example before us?

How do we show kindness practically?

The apostle Paul tells us:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

So the Christian must cover themselves with “clothes” made up of virtues. These characteristics are the ones which help make good relationships with the people around us. Christ demonstrated all these characteristics in his life.

In the original Greek text of the Bible, the word “kindness” was “chrestotes” which indicates moral excellence in character – a person who has gentleness, goodness and kindness.

Kindness removes anything which is harsh and austere and replaces it with mellow roundness with no sharp edges. It provides a personal authority that projects an easy and gentle character but that still maintains a guiding and controlling influence. If you consider the example of Jesus, this is exactly the way he behaved. So it is an attribute that we should all seek after but one which is especially helpful for those who are placed in positions of leadership. 

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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 March 2015