Summary: We all need the healing kindness of God because it’s rare to find it in the world around us. However, when you see God’s loving kindness working through others, it causes you to stop and take notice because it provides a glimpse into heaven and makes the
Opening illustration: For 30 years, Randy Murphy drove without a traffic incident, without being stopped by the police, and without a driver’s license. Then, the 46 year old Knoxville, Tennessee native’s luck ran out. On his way home from work as a dishwasher, he increased the volume on his radio. Turning the corner he was stopped by police officer Mark Taylor who pulled him over because of the blaring music. When Officer Taylor asked Murphy for a driver’s license, Murphy admitted he didn’t have one. What would we expect in that situation? Officer Taylor asked Murphy why he didn’t have a license. Murphy said that he couldn’t read enough to pass the written test. With uncommon courtesy, Taylor told Murphy, if you’re willing, I’d like to help you with the reading part of the test. The police officer gave Murphy his pager number. Later that afternoon, Murphy paged Taylor to schedule their first meeting. For the next three months the men met several times a week to review the test booklet. When Murphy felt ready, Taylor accompanied him to the department of motor vehicles. Murphy took the test six times before he passed and then sailed through the road test. Taylor’s act of kindness earned him the Officer of the Month award from the Knoxville Police Department.
Is this the kind of kindness Paul talks about in defining one of its virtues in the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ mentioned in Galatians 5: 22 – 23? Let us turn to an act of kindness in the OT ~ 2 Samuel 9: 1 – 13.
Introduction: Today we live in an era where kindness is not appreciated but considered to be demeaning and lowly. Christian kindness is a rare commodity! More Christians today pray for the "gift of tongues" (which appears so spiritual) than for the grace of kindness. Some Christians even treat their unsaved relatives less kindly after being saved, because they find the behavior of their unsaved relatives to be "un-spiritual" - they are ignorant that true Christianity sweetens every legitimate relationship. Others concentrate on preaching the Gospel to their loved ones but fail to evidence the Gospel of love by showing Christian kindness to them.
The ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ is more than an attitude or trait that we desire; it is evidence that the Holy Spirit lives in us. Some people have this idea that the Holy Spirit is mystical or spooky and unapproachable ~ well they are untrue perceptions. In Galatians 5: 22 – 23 the ‘Word of God’ tells us that the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The Holy Spirit illustrates God’s personality to others. There is no place in the Bible where it tells us that the Holy Spirit is mystical, spooky …. Etc.
Old Testament: The Hebrew word hesed, which is translated “kindness” in this passage, is a very meaningful word. It is difficult to translate it into English, and no single word in our language can convey its whole meaning. So we attempt to express what is being said here with phrases like “steadfast love,” “covenantal love,” and “loving kindness.” What we’re trying to get at is the kind of emotion and action that is felt and expressed between parents and children, or between two people who are lovers, or between folks who are the deepest of friends. But added to that emotion is the idea of dependability, loyalty, and unswerving commitment. This type of kindness is not often found in our world, but it is sorely needed.
New Testament: From the Greek root of grace ~ charis, which also means grace or gracious. The English word ’kind’ probably comes from the word kin-ned which derives from the root kin, i.e. blood-relative. It therefore describes the kind manner in which one would treat his own kin. The Greek word generally translated as ’kind’ is chrestos, which means pleasant, courteous, gracious, good, serviceable, useful, and beneficial. Chrestos is not a passive word but an active one. This is important because many people believe a kind look, or kind words, or the mere absence of oppressive speech or deeds is kindness.
Jack Hayford describes this portion of the Holy Spirit as “goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others, benevolence, kindness, affability. The word describes the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing your patience. The Holy Spirit removes abrasive qualities from the character of one under His control.”