TODAY’S SCRIPTURE Galatians 5:22-23
As kindness is a part of God’s nature, it is clearly identified as being a part of that which the faithful Christian is to possess. William Barclay suggests, “Kindness is the virtue of a man whose neighbor’s well-being is as important to him as his own.”³
Kindness is a virtue universally admired. But, the special mark that distinguishes Christian kindness is its continuation even when it is not wanted, appreciated, or returned. The natural and expected thing is to be kind to your own and to return favor for favor. Jesus wants His disciples to do more than that. He desires for us to imitate the perfect example of the Father (Matthew 5:46-48).
Because God is kind, His people can also be kind. Bearing the fruit of the Spirit is a process where the old, sinful nature is replaced with the character traits belonging to a holy God. As the kindness of God has the power to motivate repentance (Romans 2:4), even so the kindness of Christians can achieve great results. The fruit of kindness has the power to overcome the evil of those who are unkind toward it (Romans 12:20-21).
How can the fruit of kindness be borne? First, we are to be kind (gentle) with our words (Colossians 4:6). The wise man says: “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Proverbs 16:24, NASB). Second, we must strive to be kind (good) in our conduct (Galatians 6:1-2). Third, we should be kind (gracious) in our thoughts and judgments of others (Matthew 7:1-5).
A good number of years ago, I saw a worthy statement that I placed in my files that read: “If you cannot be a pencil to write someone happiness, try to be a nice eraser to remove someone’s sadness!”
Today, I will…strive to cultivate the sweet disposition that can be born only of kindness!
³ William Barclay, The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians (Philadelphia, PA; Westminster Press, 1975) 157.