Grown by God: Kindness

 

Imagine the ugliest the world has ever been. I’m not talking about looking ugly like that abandoned house that is an eyesore. What I mean is ugly as in humans at their very worst. Think about the Crusades. Or the Salem Witch Trials. Or the Holocaust. Can’t people be terrible? Can’t they be mean and cruel? But don’t just think of those monumental events in human history. Haven’t you seen just how ugly “those girls” can be in middle school–causing tears and hurts by their gossip, name calling, and mean looks? Have you ever seen how brutal people-whether young or old- can be when they break up? Ugliness is plentiful in this sin-stained world we live in.

On the other hand, imagine the best the world has ever been–a world where humans show decency, compassion, and kindness. Most recently, have you seen just how amazing our neighbors in Middle Tennessee are in responding quickly and overwhelmingly to assist strangers after the tornado that ripped through several communities? That is what true kindness looks like. Have you witnessed one of the “cool kids” choose to sit with a lonely, new kid? That is what true kindness looks like. What about the friend who comforts his buddy whose parents just announced their divorce? Again, true kindness.

Think Break:

  • What’s the best display of kindness you’ve personally seen?
  • Why did it make a difference?

When it comes to kindness being in our lives as a fruit of the Spirit, remember that it’s not about us figuring out how to become a kinder person. The fruit of the Spirit are more like “fruit from the Spirit”–that is, God produces these things in our lives when we live wholly for Him. How does God create a kind heart in you and me?

As believers we are called to grow into the likeness of Jesus, and we must work every day if we want to be more like our perfect Savior. In Ephesians 4:24, Paul writes about putting on the new self which is “created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ultimately, if you want to mirror God’s likeness in righteousness and holiness, you must model the teachings and life of Christ. 

Jesus taught what it looked like to be kind. He commanded His followers to be like the “Most High” by being kind, even to the ungrateful or evil people we encounter (Luke 6:35). However, this wasn’t something He just commanded–it was something He lived. Remember Jesus’ dying plea to His Father in Heaven? “Forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Even in His last hour, Jesus’ heart was with the lost and as He died His concern was for their souls. What an incredible picture of kindness!

A lesson we learn about the kindness of Jesus is that kindness grows from thoughtfulness of and interest in the needs of others. Over and over, we read in the Bible that God shows kindness to us because He knows the needs of our hearts (Ephesians 2:7 and 4:32, Romans 2:4, Titus 3:4–5). Living for the Lord requires we take notice of others, their needs, and their souls. Living like Jesus requires us do something to fill their needs. Jesus was a need-filler, a doer, and a caretaker of people. He fed them, He taught them, He loved them, He healed them, He raised their dead, and He died for them. 

Will we be like Jesus in being kind? Will we fill the world with our love and care because we live like Jesus did? While it’s easy to answer this with a big “YES!”, it is not always easy to show such kindness as our Lord did. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to be kind. Sometimes it is not appreciated to be kind. Sometimes it is different to be kind. Sometimes it is unpopular to be kind. Sometimes it is not convenient to be kind. BUT, here’s what I know. It is always expected of God’s people to be kind. It is eternally rewarded by God to be kind. It makes Christians look like Jesus when they choose to be kind.

May God bless us with the boldness to be kind!

  • What are some easy ways we can be kind?
  • Why is kindness important for Christians?
  • Can you think of an example of Jesus being kind?
  • Who is it difficult for you to be kind to?
  • Who can you show some extra kindness toward?

More Devotionals on the fruit of the Spirit by Will Martin:

Grown by God: Love

Grown By God: Joy

Grown by God: Peace

Grown by God: Patience

Grown by God: Goodness

Grown By God: Faithfulness

Grown by God: Gentleness

Grown by God: Self-Control

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