In thinking about kindness I realize how all the portions of fruit of the Spirit are integrally connected. They are all variations on the theme of our being molded into God’s own character by his Spirit. As the Lord’s Spirit forms our character, the manner in which we view and interact with others changes. Kindness means that we begin considering and responding to everyone else in the manner God deems appropriate. Consider the dignity Jesus displayed as he related with others. He acted in the perfect way to express God’s love to each person.
There are less than 20 occurrences of the different words for kindness in the New Testament, but this portion of the fruit of the Spirit is no less powerful than any other. The word that is most often translated kindness in the New Testament refers to something that is useful, considerate, wholesome, or good for the purpose for which it was made. Kindness is a softness of our hearts for others that we demonstrate in our expression, attitude, words and actions.
As you think through this description, I am certain you realize how little kindness is valued by our world. Few speak of kindness as the driving force behind their success, or even see kindness as a measure of success. Few mention kindness as one of the most important values in their relationships or business. Our world, and unfortunately even the church, rarely highlight kindness as a key to personal success and satisfaction.
Yet real kindness is one of the elements of the fruit of the Spirit. It is an expression of God’s own heart, and is available for us today to reflect the Lord’s own kindness through the work of his Spirit.
Kindness (chrestotes) This is the word Paul uses in his fruit of the Spirit list. It can also be translated as uprightness, honesty, goodness of heart, or simplicity.
Romans 11:22 – 3 times
2 Corinthians 6:6
Be kind (chresteuomai) This is the verb of the word Paul used, and is also translated as to be merciful, or to show kindness.
1 Corinthians 13:4
Kind (chrestos) This is the root noun from which the others words are derived. It can also be translated as useful, good of its kind, serviceable, benefits, or good for (its purpose).
1 Corinthians 15:33
1 Peter 2:3
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