TO CHEW ON: "But the fruit of the Spirit is … kindness…" Galatians 5:22.
After all the back-and-forth about law-keeping and circumcision, Paul gets practical. His lists of the flesh qualities we need to weed out and the Spirit qualities to nurture are practical and convicting. One of the simplest items on the cultivate list is one of the hardest to live consistently: KINDNESS.
["Kindness (chrestotes) is goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others, benevolence, kindness, affability. The word describes the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing your patience. The Holy Spirit removes abrasive qualities form the character under His control" - Dick Mills, Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1638.]
- The upright person is kind - Psalm 112:4.
- The wise woman speaks kindly.
"She opens her mouth in wisdom
And the teaching (or law) of kindness is on her tongue" Proverbs 31:26 NASB.
- Christians are (or should be) kind to each other: Romans 12:10; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:12.
- The highest, selfless, agapé love "suffers long and is kind" - 1Corinthians 13:4.
- Kindness is the outworking of a chain of attitudes or qualities: faith—> virtue—> knowledge—> self-control—> perseverance—> godliness—> brotherly kindness—> love - 1 Peter 1:5-7.
The sentence in our definition that sheds light on why practicing kindness consistently is so challenging (at least for me) is "The word describes the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing your patience."
- That speaks of everyday living and the small things that so easily tax patience.
- That speaks of how the kind person takes the focus off him- or herself and puts it on the welfare of others, in this case the irritating person.
The last sentence of the definition draws our attention to where we go for help in being kind: "The Holy Spirit removes abrasive qualities from the character of one under His control." As we put ourselves under His control, He makes us aware of our unkindness, its roots in our attitudes and thoughts, and gives us the desire and ability to replace them with kindness.
PRAYER: Dear Holy Spirit, please be active in me in the tongue control department (and before that, in thought control). May my thoughts and my tongue truly be governed by the "law of kindness." Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.