What Does Kindness Look Like?
The fruit of the Spirit
is love, joy, peace,
When you think of kindness, what comes to mind? An encouraging note sent by a friend? A caring shoulder to cry on? Or maybe your mom's chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven? Whatever you think about, it most likely includes a warm fuzzy feeling. Kindness just does that. No wonder it's a fruit of the Spirit. When we're kind, others get to experience that warmth, and whether they realize it or not they're experiencing some of God's character.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. (Titus 3:4-5)
How did the kindness of God appear? Through the life of Jesus Christ. That's the greatest, most complete picture of kindness we'll ever know. God saw a whole lot of hurt, brokenness and despair. He saw people with no hope of breaking free from pain and suffering. And so he sent his Son to the rescue. There wasn't any logical reason for him to do that. No one deserved his kindness—we really brought the suffering on ourselves (see Romans 3:23). But thankfully, God didn't treat us like we deserved.
Do you understand why we didn't deserve God's kindness? Titus 3:3 offers an explanation: "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures … " The word that really sticks out to me here is "enslaved." That's what sin does to us. Like a prisoner shackled and chained in the deepest, darkest dungeon, our disobedience—our desire to do things our own way rather than God's—stood between us and freedom. We were deceived by the things the world said would make us happy—clothes, cars, popularity. And we were captives to the lusts of our flesh. But when we accepted the truth—that true life comes only through Christ—the chains were broken and we were set free.
God knew what we needed before we even asked for it. That's kindness—the ability to recognize the needs of others and take steps to meet those needs. Kindness is understanding. It's compassion.
What About You?
- Besides giving you salvation, what are some other ways God has shown you kindness? Make a list of them.
- Read the list over, then write a letter to God thanking him for all the different ways he's been kind to you.
- Ask God to help you recognize his incredible kindness more and more.
Kindness to Others
"You have given me comfort and have spoken kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servant girls." (Ruth 2:13)
Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, were experiencing some really rough times. Both of their husbands were dead, which spelled struggle since there were few work options for women in their day. On top of that, they'd just moved back to Naomi's hometown. While that might not sound so bad, it had been more than a decade since Naomi had lived there, and people were probably still wondering why she'd left in the first place. She and her husband had moved away from family and friends to live in Moab—an enemy nation. Their sons had ended up marrying Moabite women. Now Naomi had brought one of them back with her—not exactly something the neighbors would celebrate.