Fruit of the Spirit - Kindness


 

Kindness is not necessarily solely active or solely passive. It has been called neutral. It is a kindly disposition toward one’s neighbors whatever the circumstances. It can express itself in either the patience of longsuffering or in a crusade of usefulness. It is not hard to live with. Integrity and strength belong to it.

Like the forbearance with which it is frequently allied, the key to understanding “kindness” is found in the instances where it describes God’s character or activity toward people. Thus, it occurs as a verb in 1 Corinthians 13:4 to express the active side; (“Love suffers long and is kind”). In such a context, it surely refers to God’s active goodness, lavished upon those whom He loves. God’s kindness is found in His thousand-fold acts of mercy toward people like ourselves who deserve His wrath. This is especially borne out by its usage in Ephesians 2:7, where the extravagant expression of God’s grace is demonstrated in His kindness toward us in Christ. “That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

In this list, of course, where it occurs again in conjunction with forbearance, it has to do with genuine acts of kindness toward others. As such it fits the larger context as another contrast to the works of the flesh, with their self-centered, basically hostile-toward-others way of life. The Spirit not only empowers us to endure the hostility or unkindness of others; He also enables us to show kindness to them, actively to pursue their good. If longsuffering means not to “chew someone’s head off” (see Galatians 5:15), kindness means to find ways to binding up their wounds.

Read more ... The Extent of Christian Kindness

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