“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Mortifying sin is not only getting rid of our sinful behavior but also putting into practice godly behavior. This is the basis for believers to evidence the Fruit of the Spirit. This is the basis for believers to evidence the fruit of kindness.
Ephesians 4:32 says, ““Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” The statement “be kind” is an imperative statement. It is a command. It is not a request from God but rather a divine directive from God.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Ephesians 4:32 describes another of these habits and dispositions — the practice of kindness and forgiveness. Such a calling is not optional but rather is integral to our salvation. Jesus, after all, says that our forgiveness of others is tied directly to God’s pardoning of our sins (Matt. 6:14–15). Certainly our Savior does not mean that we merit divine forgiveness by extending grace to those who offend us. Forgiveness is God’s gift, and we can do nothing to earn it (Eph. 2:8–9). Nevertheless, those whom the Lord forgives understand the depth of their depravity and that they are wholly undeserving of His mercy. They realize that if the perfect Creator forgives them, then they, who are imperfect people, can do no less.”
Kindness (χρηστότης; chrestotes) means to provide something beneficial for someone. Synonyms include compassion, gentleness, thoughtfulness and helpfulness. Self-sacrificial love of the will, as addressed in I Corinthians 13:4, is a love that acts kindly towards others. Colossians 3:12 directs believers to put on kindness.
Dr. John Walvoord writes that, “Kindness (chrēstotēs) is benevolence in action such as God demonstrated toward men. Since God is kind toward sinners (cf. Rom. 2:4; Eph. 2:7) a Christian should display the same virtue (cf. 2 Cor. 6:6; Col. 3:12).”
A story is told that despite his busy schedule during the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln often visited the hospitals to cheer the wounded. On one occasion he saw a young fellow who was near death. “Is there anything I can do for you?” asked the compassionate President. “Please write a letter to my mother,” came the reply. Unrecognized by the soldier, the Chief Executive sat down and wrote as the youth told him what to say.
The letter read, “My Dearest Mother, I was badly hurt while doing my duty, and I won’t recover. Don’t sorrow too much for me. May God bless you and father. Kiss Mary and John for me.” The young man was too weak to go on, so Lincoln signed the letter for him and then added this postscript: “Written for your son by Abraham Lincoln.”
Asking to see the note, the soldier was astonished to discover who had shown him such kindness. “Are you really our President?” he asked. “Yes,” was the quiet answer. “Now, is there anything else I can do?” The lad feebly replied, “Will you please hold my hand? I think it would help to see me through to the end.” The tall, gaunt man granted his request, offering warm words of encouragement until death stole in with the dawn.
We may never become President of the United States, we may never suffer a mortal wound while serving in the military, but we can be kind to one another.
In what ways can you be kind to others today? Put you kindness into action.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!