FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT – Kindness
The fruit of kindness is unique among the fruit of the Spirit, and in a way, is the ‘fruitiest’ of the fruit!
Kindness is the most outwardly visible of all the fruit of the Spirit, because it is primarily an action, as opposed to an inner disposition, or even a withholding of an action. For example, peace is about an inner settledness, despite possible turmoil on the outside. Patience is perhaps less about doing something, as it is about not doing something! For example, not responding in anger or frustration when our patience is tested.
In contrast, kindness is most definitely an action. You cannot be a kind person, and not do kind things! A kind person will end up doing acts of kindness. Thus kindness is truly defined by outward activity, and it is clear on the outside whether someone is kind or not.
It’s interesting that the word ‘kindness’ in Greek is the word ‘chrestotes’, from the word ‘chrestos’, which of course is very similiar to the word for ‘Chris’t which is ‘Christos’. It’s so similar in fact that in the first century Church they called the people who followed Jesus ‘the kind ones’! Now that may just be confusion over words, but I think it’s pretty apt that Christians should be known for being kind!
That’s what makes kindness unique, but what about it being the ‘fruitiest’ of the fruit?
To see this we’re going to dig a little deeper into the word for kindness. The root of the word is a combination of two words: ‘goodness’ and ‘integrity’. That seems like a strange combination to make up ‘kindness’!
‘Integrity’ is this rather nebulous concept, but simply means ‘integrated’. The idea is that a person with integrity is someone who is ‘integrated’, in that what you see on the outside is an accurate reflection of what is happening on the inside.
Now, when you couple that with ‘goodness’, you see that kindness is nothing other than internal goodness, being integrated with external actions! Kindness is goodness in action! Notice however, that it stems from an integration with inner goodness, it’s not something you simply tick on the outside!
That’s what makes it the ‘fruitiest’ of the fruit! The metaphor of ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ in general speaks about the Holy Spirit inside of us, bringing these characteristics to fruition in real ways in our lives. Well kindness is exactly defined in this way! That’s why it gets the title of ‘fruitiest of the fruit’!
There’s a passage of scripture that brings these ideas together:
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior”Titus 3:4-6
This is one of those passages that includes so many amazing elements: ‘goodness’, ‘loving kindness’,’mercy’, ‘Holy Spirit poured on us’ etc. It’s this wonderful combination of God in Christ saving us, and now the Holy Spirit transforming us.
One of the ways the Holy Spirit will transform us will be outward, demonstrable, visible acts of goodness expressed in kindness and mercy.
May we all grow in kindness in this lockdown season. Our families, community & colleagues are going to need it!
Questions & Activities for kids
1. Read the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17).
How does Jesus show us here what true kindness is? Let each person in the family choose one way they can show true kindness and serve one another today.
2. Throw kindness like confetti!
Make a confetti popper with toilet paper rolls. Discuss how God has ‘showered’ his kindness on us and what it might be like if we freely shared that kindness with others.
3. Not-so-random act of kindness:
Plan a way that you as a family can show kindness to a neighbour, friend or family member. How can you generously share what you have? This could include a simple phone call or text message, or maybe a homemade cake, or making a gift for when lockdown is over. Use this as an opportunity to talk about how being kind requires doing or giving something without expecting anything in return, but that it is how we can show God’s kindness to others: God saved us through Jesus in his kindness, not because of anything we have done (Titus 3:4-6).