Galatians 5:22–23 (NKJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
As we continue our series of exhortation on the fruit of the Spirit we come to the virtue of kindness. What is kindness? Kindness is “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” It is, according to W. E. Vine, “goodness in action, goodness expressing itself in deeds…in grace and tenderness and compassion.” It is not so much a state of the heart as an action that expresses a state of heart. Compassion and mercy manifest themselves in kindness.
As with the other fruits of the Spirit, kindness is grounded in the character of God. Jesus commands us in Luke 6:35, “…love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” God is kind. He causes His rain to fall on the just and unjust, he created our bodies to heal themselves, he placed minerals in the earth that we can use to heal diseases, he sent His Son to die for sinful and rebellious men and women and children. God is kind and as we are conformed into His image we will become increasingly kind ourselves. Like Jesus we will lift up those who are bowed down, strengthen the weak, heal the hurting, comfort the afflicted, pity the wayward.
And notice that, according to Jesus, this kindness is not selective, not to be given only to those we like. We are to be kind even to our enemies. Again listen to the words of Jesus, “…love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” We are called to be kind to everyone, even to the wicked, even to those whose personal habits and choices annoy us and disturb us. We are called upon to practice kindness knowing that God in his grace and mercy extended kindness to us when we were sinners and in rebellion against him.
So why is it that we are often unkind, often harsh and judgmental rather than gracious and merciful? Because we have not reckoned adequately with our own sin; because we think that we’re really pretty good people; because we think that we deserve God’s kindness, we have earned it. But if this is so, then why did the Son of God suffer and die for you? While we were yet sinners Christ died for us, the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God. God showed kindness to us though we did not deserve it.
Luke 6:32–35 (NKJV)
32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
The need of others – physically, emotionally, spiritually, ethically – should move us to pity and to kindness. So how have you been unkind this week? Have you spoken harshly to or about others rather than use your tongue to bring healing and a blessing? Have you scorned the struggles of another instead of sympathizing with them in their weakness? If so, then you have failed to live in light of the Gospel, the good news of Christ’s death on behalf of sinful, rebellious men. So repent, believe the Gospel, and seek the forgiveness of God for failing to be kind. Let us kneel and confess our sin to the Lord. We will have a time of private confession followed by the public confession found in your bulletin.