Summary: Kiwi is an under-rated fruit: fuzzy on the outside, sweet and tangy on the inside. Kindness is one of the most under-rated fruit of the Spirit.
THE KIWI OF KINDNESS
Kiwi is an under-rated fruit - fuzzy on the outside, sweet and tangy on the inside. Kindness is one of the most under-rated fruit of the Spirit - everyone talks about "being kind to one another, being kind to your neighbor, being kind to animals, etc." But very few people can define kindness specifically, let alone practice it. I have five books on the "Fruit" and none of them has a definition of the word per se. Here are a few possibilities which will help us to understand:
Philip Keller says KINDNESS involves finding ways to "brighten and cheer" the lives of others.
Stephen Winward writes: "Kindness includes sympathy, generosity and benevolence."
Webster defines kindness as: "Of a sympathetic, forbearing, gentle, pleasant nature."
The King James translators translate
it as "gentleness."
I. WHAT IS KINDNESS?
Hebrew: "chesed" - literally means, "to treat courteously and appropriately," it is also translated, "loving-kindness."
Greek: "chrestotes" -literally means "useful, pleasant, gracious."
Put them all together: Kindness is "caring enough about others that we treat them with gentleness, graciousness and generosity."
So kindness is an attitude which manifests itself in actions (or kind deeds).
The great example and source of kindness is God Himself:
"You are a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness - and you did not forsake us."
Ps. 36:6, 7
"O Lord, You preserve man and beast - how excellent is Your loving kindness."
"Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You."
"But after that kindness and love of God our Savior toward all men appeared."
"That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His kindness toward us through Jesus Christ."
God is kind to us! "He cares enough about us that He treats us with gentleness, graciousness and generosity."
Let’s look at the other six places in the NT where the words kind or kindness are used in reference to us as believers:
2 Cor. 6:6
"In all things approving ourselves by pureness, knowledge, patience, kindness by the Holy Spirit and by genuine love."
Col. 3:12 "
Put on therefore as the elect of God:tender mercies, kindness, humbleness, meekness and patience."
2 Pt. 1:6-7
"Add to your faith: knowledge, self-control and to self-control, patience, and to patience, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, love."
"Be kind, to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ, forgave you."
1 Cor. 13:4
"Love is patient, love is kind;"
Luke 6:35, 36
"Love your enemies and do good and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore, be merciful, just as Your Father is merciful."
Notice the importance of being kind - even to those who don’t deserve it.
Our example is King David and his kindness to Jonathan’s son (2 Sam. 9).
David wanted to show kindness to anyone left from the house of Saul. Mephibosheth was the only son left, but there was a problem: he had become lame in both feet after his fall at age five when his nurse was fleeing with him from Gibeah at the news Saul and Jonathan’s death (2 Sam. 4). He had very low self-esteem and considered himself to be worthless (9:8). He was also fearful when David called for him to come, for it was the custom in the ancient Middle East for founders of new dynasties to have the children of former rulers put to death. They did this to stop any attempt to regain the throne in the name of their family.
David, however, did not do this. He wanted to show the kindness of God to Saul’s family. "As for Mephibosheth,’ said the king, ’he shall eat at my table like one of the kings sons’" (2 Sam. 9:11b). This was a supreme example of kindness, and a picture of the kindness of God toward us.
II. HOW CAN KINDNESS BE EXPRESSED?
In 100’s of little ways- but it is going to cost us something:our time, our convenience, our labor, our strength:
-Visiting the sick, elderly, lonely
-Calling the discouraged
-Sharing joys and sorrows
-Encouraging the down-hearted
-Giving to the needy
-Befriending the friendless
As Philip Keller expresses in his book, it costs something to care. "There is suffering involved. It is the kind physician who lances the boil, drains off the poison, cleanses the wound, and so restores the patient." [W. Phillip Keller, "A Gardener Looks at the Fruits of the Spirit" Word Books, pg. 134]
I’ll never forget (a few years ago) the man who got out of his car in the pouring rain to help me get my car started - and who never even waited around for a "thank-you."