By Nicole McLeod
Prayer: We thank you for your loving-kindnesses to each of us here today. May You plant and water living seeds of Your kindness in our hearts today – with divine power - through Your words we hear. Free the soil of our hearts from weeds and thorns so we may bear fruit of kindness and pass them on to others as Your spirit leads us, for the glory of Your Name, In Jesus, amen.
Just as fruit begins with a seed, and over time with tender care grows to maturity and sweetness, so the fruit of the Spirit begins with Christ and His Holy Spirit coming to live in our hearts. He then is at work in us producing this kind of fruit:
1 Galatians 5:22-23 “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.”
These are the visible expressions of Christ living in us, bringing out new attitudes, and actions in the lives of former sinners like us. Today the question we ask today is: “Am I kind?” If you are like me, you might answer well – kinda – sorta – sometimes – but truly, who wouldn’t love to create a kind atmosphere in their home, be a kind spouse, be a kind sister, mother, aunt, grandmother, prayer partner, or friend express God’s love through kind deeds?
His Holy Spirit at work in us today and may He cultivate the fruit of kindness in us. And if today, you only have a bud of kindness… not even a full fruit yet… I promise you; you stand out in this world characterized by selfishness and harshness. Even a little genuine Kindness transforms relationships and societies, and so we pray for this fruit to bloom and grow in our lives!
Author, Gary Chapman, wrote “Some sociologists have called our culture the argument culture. We focus on our differences and freely shoot verbal bombs at each other. I can’t believe that any of us are happy with the divisiveness we have created. Is there a road back to civility?
I answer yes! And “Lord, may it begin with me!”
Pastor Steve reminded us Sunday to “ Be wise and understand what the will of the Lord is and do it “– be “doers of the word” –and to “ Redeem the time for the days are evil “! Evil indeed, and I might add hostile! But think of the example of the apostle Paul whose hostility to others was literally melted by God’s divine love ing kindness in Christ coming to his life.
God is Kindhearted and he commands us “ Be ye kind to one another”, so we pray to become kind as He is kind as we grow up in our faith. The word for kindness used here in Galatians 5:22 is the Greek word Crestetos – It is used 10 times in scripture) translated kindness (9x)+ goodness(1x). It is the kindness we are called to do in the power of His Spirit!
Chrestotes: is love in action- kindness of heart which does thoughtful deeds to others”. This kindness is tender, benevolent, and useful to others and carries the flavor of God’s grace in it. It humbly gives love and mercy to others, and to those who may not be able to give anything back, even to those who don’t deserve it, and who may not thank us for it. It’s a combination of thoughts – words- and actions as we think about doing a kindness - then choose to express it: Path:
1. God’s kindness
2. His great saving kindness to us in Christ Jesus
3. His kindness we are called to show to others by the Holy Spirit
1. God’s rich kindnesses:
* Isaiah 63:7 “I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us— yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses.”
You are my God; I shall seek You
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.2 Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. 4 So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.”
3 Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying , “I have loved you with an everlasting love;Therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
4 Jeremiah 9:24 “but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.
This verse shows how God’s various attributes meld perfectly into His character. kindness , justice and righteousness. And He is Holy! We do not take his great and loving kindness to us as license for wrong living…
5 Romans 2:4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance
and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
The only reason any of us are saved is because God was patient, gracious and merciful to us while we were yet sinners - and His kindness led us to repentance and provided the means for our salvation through Christ. Having experienced His forgiveness, grace, kindness we are called to show these to others.
God is described as kind from the beginning - throughout history though His kindness is not always received - in the case of the Children of Israel (Psalm 106:7) records: ” When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles, they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea. ” May that never be said of us – and King Hezekiah (2 Chron. 32:25) tells us “his heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him, therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.” This is serious, and how many proud people do we have on our prayer lists, who are just too proud to acknowledge the kindness of God to them, and receive Christ. In Ruth 2:20 , she declares, “He (God) has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” And that is the truth! God shows kindness to all, the Bible teaches. But here will be a time of judgment in the future, so today is the day of salvation and grace, may all our loved ones who aren’t yet in Christ turn while there is time!
God graciously gives so many good things to all, the blessings of rain to the just and the unjust alike. Even people who deny His existence get to enjoy good weather, good food, the love of family – 2 verses:
6 Acts 14:16-17 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”
7 Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
One of the most beautiful OT stories of God’s kindness is in 2 Samuel 9 where King David desired to show “the kindness of God” (vs 3) to Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, who "was lame in both feet." …As the story is in 4 different places, I will read this paraphrase which combines them. (read from God’s Best Virtues)
If David had acted according to justice, he would have condemned Mephibosheth and his family who belonged to a condemned family. But David acted on the basis of God’s kindness. He sought out Mephibosheth, assuring him he had no need to fear, inviting him to live in the king's palace as family and to eat at the king’s table and provided for all of his needs. This is a picture of the infinite grace, mercy and kindness of God! We who were formerly condemned, are now children of the King, unworthy of all the blessings He has lavished upon us in Christ - and we shall live in His majestic presence forever! Like the poor lame Mephibosheth – what can we offer God in return for this kindness, but to love him and show Him gratitude and kindness in return.
Pass it on: “Have you had a kindness shown? Pass it on; ‘Twas not given for thee alone, pass it on: let it travel down the years, let it wipe another’s tears, till in heaven the deed appears – pass it on.” Henry Burton”
2 .He shows great kindness to us in Christ Jesus
Our salvation comes from the kindness of God seen in His persistent efforts to reach people and enable them to return to Him.
8 Titus 3:4-7 “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
"He saved us." we didn’t rescue ourselves. We were rescued bythe kindness and the love of God. according to His mercy He saved us. He reached out to us long before we reached out to Him. This verse is a beautiful gospel message with seven aspects to God salvation in one verse. He saved us by His kindness, by His love, by His mercy, by His regeneration, by His Spirit, by His Son and by His grace.
9 Ephesians 2:4-7But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
It was kindness that caused God to effect a saving plan. He shows kind concern toward people in misery and sent Christ His Son to save us! Quote Lloyd Ogilvie: “Christ is kindness incarnate – He came to express it, to live it model it, he died to offer it and returns to impart it to us in the Holy Spirit”
I listed just some of the many aspects of His kindness to us in Christ -
- He pardons us from our sin.
- He provides for our needs.
- He answers our prayers as an act of kindness. None of us are worthy of receiving these.
- He gives us the gift of eternal life which no one can take from us – remember he saved us when we were living in sin –knowing that sometimes we wouldn’t act very godly, knowing sometimes we might be selfish and prideful – unkind and hard to live with. But He saved us and will keep working in us till He takes us home to be with Himself forever!
- He keeps every promise He has made to us !
- He has promised His presence – He said I will never leave you nor forsake you!
- He has gone to prepare a place for us so we may forever dwell with Him
- He has given us the Holy Spirit to be within us
· God is good! He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Our salvation is an act of the sovereign kindness of God.
We’ve looked at 1. God’s Kindness, 2. And His great kindness in Christ and 3…
3. We are called to show kindness by the Holy Spirit
God never demands anything from us that He himself is not willing to give us. It is truly His kindness implanted into us through Christ, and it is then ours to develop and express as an expression of His love and presence.
Kindness in the lists of Christian virtues: 1 Cor 13:4 “Love is patient (long suffering) and is kind” And it is a sign that we are a servant of God:2 Cor 6:4,6 Paul wrote: “ Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: … 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;
10 Zechariah 7:9 “Thus has the L ORD of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. (God cares how we treat the marginalized)!
* 2 Cor 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
We are His ambassadors, and because He is kind – we must be kind. Kindness is a sign of greatness – as our Great and awesome God is seen in those kind moments. Have you seen that where Christians go into the world, acts of kindness follow –… hospital, orphanages, missions to feed the poor, help the forsaken… beautiful demonstrations of God’s kindnesses. (i.e. OCC shoeboxes)!!!
We face people every day and may experience the fruit of the pain in their lives… which is really where the fruit of patience helps us to bear with them in Christ’s love. But can we take the challenge to go beyond patience, and respond to the prompts and opportunities the Holy Spirit gives us to show kindness with our thoughts our words and actions? Please look at the key verse on your outline:
12 Eph 4: 29-32 “ Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. *Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Be Kind – and with it show compassion – an forgive each other… how – just as in Christ God forgave you. That’s a tall order but it leads to thriving relationships in the home, at church in the workplace…! Just a few verses give us help understand the context
This is the key: Be kind! The living Bible is straightforward with this saying: “Stop being mean… stop speaking unkindly and instead be kind to each other”- no mean girls! But be compassionate – be forgiving. The opposite of kindness is clear here and these actions must be put off and out of our lives. This is similar to
13 1Peter 2:1-3 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
Have you ever heard of “kindness blindness?” There are actually ways we can be unkind… in our thoughts, with our words or actions and not even realize it – old habits – ways of thinking, speaking and doing things that we may not be aware of, that may sabotage ourselves or our relationships. May the Lord help us see and yield ourselves to the Spirits leading. May His kindness penetrate our whole nature and wash away all that is harsh.
Matt. 5:43-48 But I say, love your enemies![ r ] Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends,[ s ] how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Be kind because God is kind. There are scriptures also which tell of people not responding to God’s kindness – and it made Him mad ( 2 Chron:25 Hezekiah) and there is another mention of people not responding to King David’s efforts to show God’s kindness and that made him very mad (2 Sam 10) . In Acts 4:9 when a lame man was healed – which was an act of kindness the apostles were “called into account” for it…and when Jesus healed on the Sabbath – how kind was that – but they wanted to kill him – we see that it doesn’t always turn out sweetly… but Job 6:14 says “Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.” so it is important to both appreciate God’s kindnesses and persevere in showing His kindnesses. Romans 11:22 which says consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God… urging us to continue to persevere in his kindness – abiding in Christ and trusting in His grace and mercy to keep us.
Be kind to one another. Here is a verse which helps us see how to do this…
* Col 3:12-14Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Clothe yourself – choose to put on kindness – put it into your prayers and devotions each morning, “Lord help me show Your kindness for You are kind and want to reveal yourself to the people around me today – and some of them are difficult, demanding, unkind ,and it’s a challenge for me, but I ask for Your help. Please… guide my thoughts, words and actions as I plan to do acts of kindness in Your name today”.
15 2 Timothy 2:22-25 22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,
Application #1 Spend time in the word, praying, learning, abiding in Christ – that’s the source of the fruit and growth and don’t just go out and try to be kind to everyone – the key is to abide and sow to the spirit – then kindness and love are the outflow of that!
17 Gal 6:7-9 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one whosows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Application #2 : Choose to show kindness in your conversations: spoken or posted
Proverbs 31:26 “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Our wise words are to be kindly spoken. We must speak the truth in love. As we submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit may our kindness words and deeds leave people in a better way that we found them. Let the Law of kindness be on our lips! Prov. 11:16 “A kindhearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth.” Colossians 4:6 says that “your speech should always be gracious and seasoned with salt so that you know how to answer any one you speak to”. And proverbs tell us kind wise and gentle words bring healing…
18 Proverbs 15:4 says that a gentle tongue has healing power and is a tree of life.
Proverbs 12:18 says that the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Prov. 16:24 Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Application #3 – If you are the type of person that likes a plan or structure – prayerfully take all take a kindness challenge – Author and researcher Shanti Feldman under the ministry of Revive our Hearts created a 30 day Kindness Challenge –The Book is more of a complete road map, but what if we did a 21 day modified kindness challenge – or even a 1 day to begin - just doing 3 things each day Choose your closest relationship you wish was better – ideally a spouse or family member and just for 21 days ( or however long you think you could do this) 1. Nix your negative words to them (and you can’t make faces either- ie eye rolling muttering under breath or slamming cabinets) and you can’t say anything negative about them to others– 2. Affirm or praise to them at least 1 time each day and tell at least 1 other person 3. Pray for them each day of the challenge and do or say 1 act of kindness to them J! And Don’t be surprised at how very difficult this challenge is – it actually requires dying to self more than you may realize when you start – and you may begin to see how often negative comments flow from our lips and our words discourage – may it bring light to your life and change.
Conclusion: Be kind to one another for God is kind and may we be fruitful and faithful, in Jesus name, amen.
Galatians 5:22-23 “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.”
1. God’s kindnesses:
* Jeremiah 9:24 “But let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.
2 Samuel 9
2. God’s kindnesses shown to us in Christ Jesus
*Titus 3:4-7 “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life
3. God’s kindness shown through us - to others
*Eph 4: 29-32 “ Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. * Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
2 Cor 5:20
Eph 4:32, Eph. 4:28-32
2 Tim 2:22-25
1 Cor 13
2 Cor 6:4,6
Proverbs 31:26, 11:16-17
Proverbs 15:4, 12:18, 16:24
Deuteronomy 22:11 kindness to animals
Prov. 14:21 Kindness to neighbors and needy
Leviticus 19:34 kindness to immigrants
We can show kindness with:
our mouths: words –– kind comments - encouragement restraint of negative words and gossip
our simple interactions: pray God will show you this week who to share kindness with
our eyes, smiles, hands by doing, touching, helping –
our ears by listening, receptively actively,
our fingers by writing kind words, cards, typing kind posts and comments
our feet by going, visiting, being there
our minds by thinking being thoughtful and mindful, remembering others needs
our hearts by loving and caring compassion-
Our attitudes – by choosing to pray for others we interact with and their needs
our wills by choosing to be kind, actions and simple need filling like sewing baking cleaning,
our shoulders, by bearing one another’s burdens,
our spirit, intercession and prayer
our homes, creating a atmosphere of kindness setting the tone for the family, and guests.
our lives as God’s vessels to fill and use according to his good pleasure
Be Kind for He is kindhearted and kind to the godly and ungodly…
We can show kindness to:
Our husbands in our homes – by choosing kindness, and to encourage (rather than discourage them)
To our children – to use words to build them up , instruct them gently and not tear them down
To our parents and relatives – giving aging grace to those in need
To our friends, neighbors, community
To the church, to believers our brothers and sisters
To the lost, to those He puts in our paths
To the needy and marginalized: widow, the foreigner, the fatherless, the poor, the weak,
Even to our enemies – consider the words of Jesus on this…
those we think of as “them” or “those…” not our group “us”
Christian workers, pastors, missionaries’ servants…
21 day modified “kindness challenge” *
What family relationship in your life could benefit from more kindness? Your relationship with your spouse, a child, a parent? For the next 21 days try doing these 3 simple things:
1. Do not allow yourself to say anything negative to the person, or about the person to others. If you must address an issue, do not allow yourself to use a negative tone.
2. Look for 1 thing you can affirm or praise the person for daily. Tell them, and one other person.
3. Every day, pray for this person, and ask God to help you do one kind thing for that person
*adapted from a book called the “30-Day Kindness Challenge” by Shaunti Feldhahn, a Christian social researcher and author, who says that in 89% of her researched cases relationships improved from these simple steps. (Perhaps we will be the one to change and benefit the most …from becoming kinder.)
Her book is more of a complete road map, with many support materials, this modified version is a good starting place for those of us who wish to see our relationships improve and can continue from there.