The Fruit of Kindness

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, NIV).”

“Let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight” (Jeremiah 9:24-25, NIV).

The concept of Bible kindness comes from Hebrew words such as hesed which means to bow the neck in courtesy as to an equal; to be gracious; to be sweet in disposition; to be loyal to covenant obligations; to be merciful and good. Without question, our God can be described as kind: “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9, NIV). Psalm 30:5 says, “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime” (NIV). God shows his covenant loyalty to us consistently and regularly.

It is important to note, however, that God expects this same type of covenant loyalty to be displayed to others. For example, God expects us to show kindness to the poor and the needy (Proverbs 14:31; 19:17). We should also show kindness to our brothers and sisters in the Lord (Ephesians 4:32). Believe it or not we are to show this same kindness even to our enemies (Luke 6:35; Proverbs 25:22). Finally, in a sweeping statement, Paul told Timothy to be kind to everyone: “The Lord’s servant must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone” (1 Timothy 2:24).

The story of the Good Samaritan really sheds light on what kindness means to God. There are three keys I want to share with you from this touching story about a man mugged on his way to the city of Jericho that will help us become a consistently kind person.

First, we must overcome the fear of involvement. The priest and the Levite in this story no doubt were concerned about the pronounced danger on the notorious road to Jericho known as the “bloody way.” They chose to close their heart to the need. They might have also been concerned about becoming “unclean” by interacting with the victim they saw there. Perhaps they were afraid of getting in over their heads. Regardless of the reason, we need to overcome the fear that keeps us from reaching out to the hurting and the lonely in this world with covenant kindness.

Second, we need to see through the eyes of compassion. Some people see hurting people as objects, impediments, or detours. Other people can see the need like Jesus. They are not detached, distant, or indifferent to the pain around them. A kind person cares about people. I urge you to never repress that urge to be kind. It did not come from you, but was the prompting of divine love by the Holy Spirit. Look through the eyes of compassion and you will want to take the time to be kind to hurting people when you become aware of the needs.

Finally, we need to take action and pay the price. The least likely to stop and help of the three that past along the way near the hurting man, the Samaritan, was willing to pay the price of inconvenience, time, effort, property, and money to make a difference. He shows a very different attitude than the previous two religious individuals. They reasoned: “what will happen if we help him?” The Samaritan reasoned wisely: “what will happen to the man if I don’t help him?” Let’s be willing to pay the price to show covenant kindness to others. After all, Jesus was willing to pay the ultimate price to show the covenant kindness of our heavenly Father!