Summary: The virtues of goodness and kindness do not come to us naturally and just like the other virtues of Jesus we need to be taught them. Imagine if you will two small children wanting the same toy at the same time. You get the point. We have to be taught.
Seeking the best for others
Kindness and goodness
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,
“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
11 They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”[a]
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[b]; do not be frightened.”[c] 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
Today we want to look at two virtues that are mentioned as part of the fruit of the spirit. Goodness and Kindness
Galatians 5:22-23 New International Version (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Pastor Randy Frazee in his book “Believe” makes a distinction for us about goodness and kindness that I think is very important and that we need to understand.
He says…”While the meaning behind these two words in the original Greek is similar, they are less like twins and more like cousins. Both indicate how to respond to others from a deep, moral inner conviction of what is the right thing to do for the sake of the other person.” Kindness involves doing something deemed positive by the recipient. Goodness, however, sometimes entails tough love for the benefit of another because it will genuinely help them. This could involve speaking the truth in love or even withholding something that could harm them. But at the end of the day both virtues involve seeking the best for others.” Source: Randy Frazee “Believe” pg. 435 Zondervan 2015 Grand Rapids Michigan.
Well it’s good to know there is a difference between these two words but as Christians how to balance goodness or kindness in our relationships with others can be difficult.
Did you know that is possible to be kind to someone and still not be much good to them?
Have you ever heard the old adage “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime?”
This old proverb suggests there is a distinction between being kind and being good.
Its kind to feed someone once but it is good to equip a person with the skill to feed themselves for the rest of their lives.
It is this practical application of goodness and kindness we Christians often wrestle with. For that we need the discernment of the Holy Spirit and we can also find that discernment in scripture itself which is the living breathing word of God.
Randy Frazee suggested several passages of scripture as references for understanding the virtues of goodness and kindness but time does not allow me to examine them all so I narrowed it down to 1 Peter 3:8-17 for our message today.
It is in this passage that I find the words “love one another” helpful as we discern just who is it that we are to be kind and good to. It really encompasses all of humanity and not just the church. But it is especially helpful to those who are in the church since they are the ones who should be examples of goodness and kindness.
Jesus taught us that “loving one another” includes those who are not good or kind toward us.
In essence this passage is a repetition of Jesus “Golden Rule”. To love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength and to love your neighbour as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-40
The virtues of goodness and kindness do not come to us naturally and just like the other virtues of Jesus we need to be taught them.
Imagine if you will two small children wanting the same toy at the same time. You get the point. We have to be taught Christ's virtues.