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The Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

Of all the fruit of the Spirit, kindness is perhaps the most familiar. This virtue is healing, compassionate, and merciful to others. Kindness is usually associated with mercy. It is not possible to be kind without being merciful. And to be merciful is to be kind. It implies a deep concern for others. Paul admonishes us to kindness in Eph. 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another.”

Spirit-prompted kindness is the disposition to overlook and forgive personal injuries. Instead of vindicating ourselves or sticking up for our own rights, we are told “So embrace, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, a spirit of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, and longsuffering” (Col. 3:12, MEV). In doing so, we are following Jesus, who asked us to “learn from Me” (Matt. 11:29, MEV).

The truly kind people forget their own personal preferences in order to offer help to another person. The truly kind person tries to make the world a better and brighter place for those with pain.

Kindness may cost a great deal. It is more than pretending concern for others; it is in fact getting involved with the personal sorrows and pains of other lives to the point where it may cost us serious inconvenience. The truly kind people forget their own personal preferences in order to offer help to another person. The truly kind person tries to make the world a better and brighter place for those with pain. Our Father shows us this same kindness—His utterly merciful, compassionate, self-giving life is our example.

The fruit of the Spirit refers to a kindness beyond man’s greatest capacity on his own.

The command to be kind is not merely a general encouragement to treat our fellowman better. The world is in need of kindness, of course, but the fruit of the Spirit refers to a kindness beyond man’s greatest capacity on his own. Only with the work of the Holy Spirit can we produce this fruit. It is a kindness both unconscious and spontaneous. We won’t even have to think about it. When the Spirit dwells within us in His fullness, the children of God are moved by an impulsive kindness. As compassion is the opposite of self-pity, so true kindness is the opposite of self-love and pride.

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Image: Lotte Lohr

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Category: Spirit, Winter 2018

About the Author: James F. Linzey is the chief editor of the Modern English Version Bible translation. His graduate education is a degree in religious studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. His undergraduate degree from Southern California College is a BA in Biblical Studies with an emphasis in religion. He is the author of numerous articles and books. He is a speaker, recording artist, State Chaplain for the California Military Officers’ Association, and retired Army chaplain. MilitaryBibleAssociation.com. Wikipedia.org/wiki/James_F._Linzey. Twitter: @JimLinzey

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