Fruits of the Spirit: Kindness

by: Bill Bratt


The apostle Paul admonished true Christians to "walk in the Spirit" and if we do then we will "not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16.) So how do we walk in the Spirit? Paul continues in the next five verses in telling us what the "works of the flesh" are and then he answers the question of how do we walk in the Spirit when he says: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, {23} gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23.)

Let’s take a look at ‘kindness’ which is the fifth in the list of the fruits of the Spirit.

The Greek word for ‘kindness’ in this verse is ‘chrestotes,’ [khray-stot'-ace;] from Strong’s Concordance G5543; and is defined as: "usefulness, i.e. mor. excellence (in character or demeanor):--gentleness, good (-ness), kindness." Other definitions are: "affectionate, loving, goodness of heart, moral goodness, integrity, forbearance, virtuousness and benevolence."

God’s Kindness

Kindness describes a basic internal quality of God.

Sometimes we will pray to God for help but we lack the conviction that God will answer because we know that we don’t deserve an answer. Our previous sins have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2.) We have to realize that God cares about us and He wants what is best for us. He extends his loving kindness to us and answers our prayer.

One of the greatest acts of kindness that God has extended to mankind is the sacrifice of His only begotten son: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. {17} "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:16-17.)

Let’s notice an act of kindness that Jesus extended to a man suffering from the terrible disease of leprosy: "Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, "If You are willing, You can make me clean." {41} Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed." {42} As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed (Mark 1:40-42.)

Leprosy was a chronic infectious disease affecting especially the skin and peripheral nerves with eventual paralysis, wasting of muscle, and production of deformities. People who had leprosy were supposed to keep their distance from the general population. But here we see the kindness and compassion of Jesus of allowing the man with leprosy to approach Him and then Jesus touched him and healed him.

There are many examples in the Psalms showing God’s kindness to us: "For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!" (Psalms 117:2.)

Psalms 107 shows many examples of God’s kindness to those who look to Him for help.

God also has a special kind of kindness called ‘lovingkindness’. This word occurs 29 times in the Bible. Let’s look at one example: "How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings" (Psalms 36:7.) Lovingkindness is kindness including grace, favor and mercy.

Kindness is Being Gentle

Gentleness is being free from harshness, sternness, or violence. A lady and a gentleman have learned the social graces, are courteous, and know how to attend to other people’s needs. Let’s notice what the apostle Paul said about being gentle: "But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children" (1 Thessalonians 2:7.) Paul dealt with the church in Thessalonica like a nurse, who would be firm but loving, kind and sure, able and compassionate. A gentle person is willing to take extra steps to look out for their needs of others and is willing to dirty the hands to do whatever is necessary.

How Can We Be Kind?

We can begin with the ‘Golden Rule’: Jesus said: "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12.)

Let’s add what the apostle Peter said: "having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous" (1 Peter 3:8.)

We are to be kind even to our enemies: "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44.)

In order to be kind we must forgive: "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32.) To many people want to hold onto grudges and resentment towards others and one of the basic tenets of Christianity is to forgive. Right in the middle of the Lord’s model prayer, Jesus said: "And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors" (Matthew 6:12.) Following the model prayer, He said: "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. {15} "But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15.)

To be kind we must do simple acts of kindness in reaching out to others: be thoughtful, pray for others, send them a card, telephone them and let them know that you care. Look for things that you can do or say to make the lives of others more pleasant. When we are kind to other people it glorifies God and Jesus Christ. In conclusion: Everyone would like to receive kindness from others. We can begin by applying the ‘Golden Rule’. Kindness is reaching out to others. Let’s be kind and gentle to everyone that we come in contact with. We need to go to God the Father in prayer and ask Him for the fruit of His Spirit: Kindness.