Summary: Acts of kindness should spread from one person to another until kindness takes everything over.
May I remind us all that Jesus was homeless after he left his job and the majority of the people in his culture thought he was crazy and they were scared of him. He was an outcast, sure he had a faithful group of followers, but the majority of people thought they were nuts too. “As you did to one of the least of these, you did it to me.”
We continue our exploration of the fruit of the Spirit today. First we had Love, which was represented by strawberries, then Joy rep by watermelon, peace was cherries, and patience was blueberries. I didn’t mention the blueberries last week but I chose them because Denise always had to wait patiently for blueberries to come into season back in BC, she loves them and would talk about them all spring.
Why don’t we read our scripture together again…
Today we’re covering kindness, and the fruit I chose for this week is raspberries because they spread everywhere and this is what we hope kindness will do as well. Acts of kindness should spread from one person to another until kindness takes everything over.
The word Kindness comes from the Greek “chrestos” (chraystos) “to make oneself useful to another, make things easier, smoother”. It is a spirit of care for others, a desire to make someone else’s life easier, a carrying of burdens.
If you’re like me it may have been confusing to distinguish between kindness, goodness, and even gentleness. Two of these words are even different in the King James version.
These are related words but let me offer a way to differentiate them. Kindness refers more to how we treat people and acts that we do to make other’s lives easier or better. Goodness is related to righteousness and refers more to our character and doing what is right, and gentleness is related to meekness and describes our conduct as submissive to the will of God versus our own, not necessarily passive, but also not head strong. We’ll talk about these in coming weeks.
Let’s see what the Bible says about kindness.
Kindness is… first of all
I. A Characteristic of God (1 Co 13:4, Rom 11:22, Eph 2:4-7, Ti 3:4)
The Lord is good and steadfast in His loving kindness. We see this all over Scripture even when he is showing His wrath. Nowhere more than in the Psalms. If you look at Psalms 26, 36, 63 amoung others you’ll hear about God’s kindness and steadfastness.
God is love and according to 1 Corinthians 13, and love is patient and Kind, the last two fruit we covered. Romans 11:22 speaking to us the Gentiles says, “Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.”
God is both kind and severe. Both are in His nature, and which we receive from him depends at least to some degree on our behaviour and belief. He wants us to be steadfast in our kindness.
Ephesians 2:4-7 shows that His kindness is manifest in Jesus, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Again in Titus 3:4, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared…” See Jesus is God’s goodness and loving kindness who appeared in the world.
II. A Command to Every Believer (Eph 4:32, 2Tim 2:24, Col 3:12, Mi 6:8, Zech 7:9)
2 Timothy 2:24 commands that the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone. In Ephesians 4:32 Paul tells us to put away all the bitterness and other negative stuff and “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as Christ forgave you.”
In Colossians 3:12 we are told to put to death what is earthly in us and put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. The prophets had something to say as well. Micah says that the Lord requires us to do justice and to love kindness.
Listen to what Charles Swindoll says about this passage from Micah: read from pg 330
And God says to Zechariah to show kindness to one another and do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor.
As we have defined kindness, we are all commanded to make ourselves useful to others, and make an effort to make other people’s lives easier and more enjoyable. Have you ever dreaded a task only to have someone come help you? Is that not a great feeling? Have you ever felt all alone only to have someone visit you unexpectedly and it made your day?