"Simple" Kindness

Ephesians 4:32

Ephesians 4:32

32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted…

Perhaps there is no Fruit of the Spirit that is more overlooked than the seemingly “simple” fruit of kindness.  And yet, if producing kindness was so simple, then all of us would be overflowing with kindness at all times!  However, isn’t it often so true that one of the things we lack the most with those that we are closest with is “simple” kindness?  And the reason for this is because kindness is the antithesis to selfishness.  You can’t be both kind and selfish at the same time, because kindness is not simply a good temperament and intention towards others, it is good intentions followed by action.  Kindness encompasses two very important principles.  First, kindness is a pre-determined disposition of heart.  Kindness is an even temperament of love, honor, curtesy, peace, and tenderness towards others.  I say pre-determined because we must always be ready under any circumstance to show kindness.  Kindness is not subject to situations.  A disposition of kindness does not say, “I will be kind if, you are kind to me.”  It says, “I have already, even now, decided I will be kind to you even if you are not kind to me, now, or at any time in the future.”  If we do not determine, at this moment that in all future situations we will show kindness, then, you and I will probably fail to be kind when it is needed the most.  Kindness determines that there is not a time or a situation in which we will not extend grace, mercy, benevolence, and love.  We will be kind, because God has changed the disposition of our hearts from self-love, self-pride, self-righteousness, and selfishness…to humility, charity, and tenderness.   So, kindness starts with a disposition of the heart…”I will be kind no matter what”, but what good is kindness if it is only an internal tenderness?  This is why true kindness next produces a usefulness to each other.  God first showed us kindness by loving us while we were yet sinners, but that kindness then produced a usefulness to us.  God’s kindness compelled Him to produced a way to salvation through Jesus Christ.  Therefore, biblical kindness also produces a usefulness to others.   A faith that says, “good luck, I hope you make it out there on your own”, isn’t a true faith, because it does not produce one of the fruits of a real faith.  Kindness.  Kindness doesn’t just wish someone luck with their problems, needs and concerns.  Kindness, sympathizes, empathizes, and then mobilizes.  There is perhaps no other story in the NT that gives us as excellent of an example of the usefulness of kindness in action, than the parable of the Good Sarmatian.  A Samaritan man gave up his time, resources and his pride in order to help a Jewish man who hated him and probably would not have cared for him in the same way.  And what does Jesus say after telling this powerful parable?  He says, “go, and do the same.”  The usefulness of kindness in action will call you to serve each other and give up your time and resources for each other.  However, when it is the Holy Spirit producing this fruit in you, your service won’t be forced, it won’t be done with grumbling or complaining.  Your service to each other will be done with joy, thankfulness, and love.  Therefore, the fruit of kindness is a matter of both heart and hand.  Dear Christian, in Christ, God has given us a heart of kindness.  My prayer this week is that we recommit ourselves to producing this powerful and important fruit.  I know that I have a long way to go in producing this “simple” kindness, how about you?

Yours in Christ,

Pastor John