Summary: An examination of three scriptural truths about kindness illustrated with aspects of kindness from the life of Jesus and how we can demonstrate kindness.
The Book of Galatians is all about the beauty of God’s grace. And one way that God’s grace is displayed in our lives is through the Fruit of the Spirit. So, I’m calling this series, “Grace-fruit: Jesus Living in Me.” Here are the nine expressions of the fruit of the Spirit. “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.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Chances are you’ve heard the expression, “Kill ‘em with kindness.” The source that of that phrase comes from Shakespeare’s play, “The Taming of the Shrew.” In one scene the scheming Petruchio says of his wife, Kate: “This is a way to kill a wife with kindness; And thus I’ll curb her mad and headstrong humour.”
I don’t really like the phrase “Kill ‘em with kindness,” because whether you use anger or kindness, the goal is still to kill someone. Instead I’ve changed the phrase around. As we talk about the fruit of kindness I want to challenge you to “Kiss ‘em with Kindness.”
A man stopped at a highway diner for breakfast. A grumpy waitress came out and said, “What do you want?” He said, “Well, I’d like two eggs, and a few kind words.” She didn’t say anything; she just turned and left. In a few minutes she returned and slammed down a plate with two greasy eggs. He said, “What about my kind words?” She said, “Don’t eat them eggs.”
In August 1998 when George H. W. Bush accepted the Republican nomination for President, he said, “I want a kinder, gentler nation.” Five months later he was inaugurated as our 41st President. Do you recall what his first official act was as Chief Executive? He led us in prayer. May God give us more leaders who lead us in prayer.
It’s amazing that President Bush said that one of our greatest needs is to become a kinder, gentler nation. If it’s true of our nation, it’s also true of our churches, and our homes. We need a kinder, gentler culture.
Sometimes “good, religious people” can be as mean as a snake. I’ve had more than one server in a restaurant tell me the rudest folks are the church people who eat out for Sunday lunch—and they’re the worse tippers! I agree with the little girl who had spent all day with some of these “good, religious people.” During her bedtime prayer she prayed, “Dear God, please make all the bad people good; and make all the good people kind.”
My favorite definition of kindness is that it is “love with its work clothes on.” Patience and kindness appear together on our fruit list, and there’s a reason for that. Patience is passive. Remember, patience is the ability to NOT to blow your stack with difficult people and situations. But kindness is active. Kindness is the act of doing something that demonstrates love, especially to difficult people.
In this simple message we’re going to follow this sequence: Know it; See it; Do it. In other words, we’ll examine three scriptural truths about kindness (Know it). Then I want to illustrate this aspect of kindness from the life of Jesus (See it), and finally talk about why and how we can demonstrate kindness (Do it).
I. KNOW IT: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
The word “kindness” is chrestos, which literally means, “Grace in action.” The Bible teaches that God is full of loving-kindness. He has shown His kindness to us by sending Jesus to die for us. Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
On rare occasions someone will say to me, “Oh, I don’t believe in God.” I’ve often responded by saying, “Well tell me about this God that you don’t believe in.” They usually talk about a vindictive, angry God who has failed to heal a family member, or who didn’t prevent some tragedy.” After they finish, I say, “Well, I don’t believe in a God like that either.” I believe in a God who is kind, loving, and merciful. He will punish sin, and His justice will be satisfied in the future, but now He is opening His arms to anyone who will accept His kindness.
This past week, one of my friends, Keith Ingram went to be with Jesus. Through the years he sent me funny emails that I’ve kept in a file. At his funeral I said that I could even use some of them in church! One of the funny ones he sent me is the story of a first-grade boy named Timmy who walked to school every morning with his friends. His mother was nervous about Timmy’s safety, but she didn’t want to embarrass him by walking with him. So she asked her neighbor, Mrs. Goodnest to walk along behind the group of students. That worked great because every morning, Mrs. Goodnest would take her dog, Marcy, for a morning walk.