Let’s give AdeleAlys a warm welcome back for this week’s Fruit of the Spirit – Kindness – for Word Nerd Wednesday.
“Plantation Estates- the place where kindness lives”. As I read those words emblazoned on the activity bus for a local retirement center, two thoughts came to my mind. First: God is unfailingly good and can be counted on to remind me of commitments I might otherwise forget (such as writing this post). Second: The insensitivity and harshness of our culture wearies me. If there truly is a place where the kindness that I remember from my youth still lives, then I wanted to go there.
Strongs 5544 /xrēstótēs (“useful kindness”) (“divine kindness”) refers to meeting real needs, in God’s way, in His timing (fashion). LIsted as a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22).”We have no term that quite carries this notion of kind and good” (Bible Hub)
Kindness is instantly recognizable and easy to describe. It speaks volumes in a universal language – one that, according to Mark Twain, “the deaf can hear and the blind can see “But defining kindness is much more difficult. Perhaps we can understand it by discussing what it is not.
“Nice” and “Kind” are not interchangeable.
“Nice” people work from the outside/in. They know what is considered morally correct and interpersonally agreeable in a given situation and they consciously conform their behavior to that standard. They expect their efforts to be recognized and perhaps rewarded. “Nice” can be temporary. It involves actions which spring from the will and goodwill of the actor. “Nice”is what you do.
“Kind” people don’t plan their actions around what “society” thinks of them. They have an abiding love for their fellow human beings. Their actions spring from that love- often spontaneously and unbidden. “Kind” is everlasting. You show it in every interaction. “Kind”is who you are.
Jesus was not “nice.” Jesus was “kind.”
Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile. – Mother Teresa’s
“Kindness” is an attribute of God. It can grow in the heart of every believer who is willing to put away their old nature , put on the example of Jesus, and manifest the qualities he showed.
“Do you take the kindness of God for granted? Do you see His patience and tolerance as signs that He is a pushover when it comes to sin? How could you not know that His kindness is guiding our hearts to turn away from distractions and habitual sin to walk a new path?”
Romans 2:4 The Voice (VOICE)
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.”
Colossians 3:12-13 The Message (MSG)
Becoming Kind: The Christian Art of One-Smothering
There are three steps in the process of becoming kind- and all of them are Biblical.
1) Consider Others as Equal to Yourself
Jesus was never too busy to notice the people that God put in his path. Consider the Gospel stories of healings and miracles. Almost without exception they occurred on the road or at the city gate-always when Jesus was on his way to do something else. Yet Jesus did not get angry at the interruption or turn aside from the need. Instead he saw them; He heard them; and He stopped for them.
2) Show Them Compassion
Most importantly, once they expressed a desire or a need, He refrained from judging them. Instead, He imagined himself in their place. How might He feel to be sick or poor or afraid and alone? He was “moved with compassion”‘ and He leaned down to hear them, reached out to touch them, and He wept.
When He saw a homeless or mentally ill person, He saw their fear and loneliness. When we see one, we assume they have addiction issues. Because we would never abuse substances, we can’t empathize with the person. And we short circuit the compassionate response.
3) Value Them Enough to Invest in Them
Jesus’ “kindness” began with feelings, but rarely stopped there.
He crafted solutions to their situations. Sometimes with words (John 4:49-50), sometimes with energy (Mark 5:25-34), sometimes with money and material resources (Matthew 15:32-38) . Jesus used His resources to benefit others and He frequently risked his reputation to do so (John 8:1-11)
So how about it? Do you have the courage to cultivate kindness? Will you start today?Do you have the courage to cultivate kindness? @morgantonrose #kindness #wordnerdwednesday Click To Tweet
The daughter of a Lutheran minister and a Catholic college professor, Adele-Alys faith life has always been a patchwork. Married to a Jewish man for 38 years, she delved deeply into his faith. It sharpened my picture of Jesus and popped my spiritual ears in ways I could not imagine.” You can connect Adele-Alys via Twitter (@morgantonrose), Pinterest, and her blog (adelealysblog.wordpress.com).
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Faith On Fire, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Soul Survival, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday, Salt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday.