Summary: Kindness is a nondescript fruit that is very important for our growth in Christ.
• Today as we carry on with out look at the fruit of the spirit, we are going to take some time to examine a fruit that seems to be pretty nondescript on the surface.
• Kindness seems like something that is pretty ordinary, but when you start to really think about it, kindness is remarkable and inspiring.
• The exhibition of the fruit of kindness can literally change the lives of those around us.
• When you think of kindness, chances are that one of the first names that comes to mind is Mister Rogers. A year or two before Fred Roger’s death someone in Philadelphia where he lived stole his car. The news media got a hold of the story and before long all the local TV stations were broadcasting the story. Thousands of Philadelphia citizens saw the story, including the thief who stole the car. This criminal had dealt with his own share of difficult times, but he knew that when he was small Fred Rogers had been a positive influence on him.
• Within 48 hours the car was back in the spot where he left it, along with a note saying "If we’d known it was yours, we never would have taken it!" (www.sermoncentral.com)
• Kindness may be one of the most underrated fruits on the fruit stand.
• Theologian William Barclay once said, “More people have been brought into the church by the kindness of real Christian love than by all the theological arguments in the world”
• How many times in your life have you felt discouraged or felt like everything was against you only to be met by someone who was willing to show kindness to you.
• I wonder how many lives have been changed by someone showing the fruit of kindness.
• Today we are going to look at this nondescript fruit; we will look at what it is and why it can be so powerful and life changing.
I. DEFINING KINDNESS.
• When you think of the word kindness, what comes to mind, do you think of the nice grandmother figure that is waiting there with a bunch of cookies for you?
• Is kindness emotional feeling?
• SLIDE #3
• The Encarta dictionary defines kindness as: the practice of being or the capability to be sympathetic and compassionate
• The English word does not fully capture the meaning of the original word. Kindness is more than being capable of being sympathetic and compassionate.
• SLIDE #4
• The word derives from a verb meaning “to take into use” and has the basic sense of “excellent,” “serviceable,” or “useful.” It refers to something that is well suited for its purpose, such as a “worker” bee, an “orderly” house, or “healthy and tasty” food. When the word was applied to people it meant they were “worthy,” “decent,” “honest.” When a person is all that he is supposed to be—when a human is humane—he is decent, reliable, gentle, and kind. All of this is included in what our Bible calls “kindness.” It is not just a sweet disposition: it is a serving, productive trait as well. College Press Commentary.
• It relates to tender concern for others. It has nothing to do with weakness or lack of conviction but is the genuine desire of a believer to treat others gently, just as the Lord treats him.
• Kindness is more than compassion. The very of nature of exhibiting kindness to another person makes that person have a sense of worth and usefulness. By exhibiting kindness to another person we are affirming their worth as a person, we are telling them that they are important enough for us to be inconvenienced, by them or that we would give them special attention. It is closely related to being gentle.
• Jesus’ kindness is the believer’s example. When “some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them, … Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’” (Matt. 19:13-14).
• On another occasion He said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29).
• Jesus by allowing the children to come to Him, showed them their worth to Him. The children were important to Him. His display of kindness to them let them know that.
• When Jesus calls those who are weary and heavy-laden to come to Him for rest, His kindness toward them shows us how important we are to Him.