Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness is Christlikeness
God’s chosen king, David, did not need to go out of his way to welcome the late King Saul’s only remaining family member, Mephibosheth. In ancient civilizations, it was common for new kings to kill off the male heirs of previous kings. However, David deliberately searched for Mephibosheth, the grandson of his nemesis, Saul. 2 Samuel 9:3 says David wanted to show him the kindness of God. David invites Mephibosheth, a man with a severe physical disability, to live in his house, gives him land and servants, and treats Mephibosheth as if he were one of David’s own sons. The kindness of God is unexpected, relentless, far-reaching, and sacrificial.
Kindness, as the world perceives it, is not just a Christian value. After all, people perform acts of kindness all the time, whether they follow Jesus or not. But this fifth fruit of the Spirit goes much deeper than a pay-it-forward trend in the Starbucks drive-through line. Of course, our small acts of kindness make a big difference in a world that seems to thrive on hostility. But how does the Bible describe kindness?
Kindness describes the character of God.
The word “kindness” is attributed to God many times throughout the Old and New Testaments (Jer. 9:23-24, Acts 14:17, Psalm 23:6). It’s clear — God is kind to us. He was kind back then, and he’s kind even now. Jesus, the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15), is the incarnate example of God’s kindness to us. Jesus’s kindness was never hurried, inauthentic, or self-serving. He was interrupted and inconvenienced, but still, he showed generous kindness.
His kindness goes even further, though.
“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:4-5).
Christ’s kindness toward humanity compelled him to go to the cross and die for us. This is the type of kindness that the Holy Spirit cultivates within believers and sets us apart from the world. This kindness draws others to God.
What does this mean for us in our day-to-day lives?
We can pray for kindness to become a habit in our lives. We can ask God to put people in our path who need to be shown kindness, even if they don’t deserve it.
We never deserved Christ’s kindness toward us, but still, he died for us; in kindness, he draws us to himself, and in kindness, he gives us grace upon grace.
How will you reflect that kindness toward others this week? Let us know!