22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 5:22

The fifth attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is kindness

The Greek word for kindness is chrēstotēs which means “to be tender, benign or morally upright”.  It refers to a person’s character behind an action. God’s kindness towards us is the actual quality of His being. This means God isn’t nice to you only when you are well-behaved or when He is in a pleasant mood, but God is consistently and constantly showing His kindness to us, no matter what we have done.

Most people mix up niceness and kindness. While we use these words interchangeably, they are not the same. Much of being nice has to do with building or keeping a good reputation, whereas being kind comes from a good character. Niceness has to do with how we want others to see us, or about saying or doing the right thing. Kindness, however, has to do with saying or doing things right for the other person. In other words, niceness is about acquiring a social skill, but kindness is about possessing a spiritual ability. 

The Apostle Paul tells us to be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32). In other words, being a community is more than just being nice to each other. It is to become deeply and personally involved in the lives of those whom God has given us the privilege of serving. Unless we truly invest ourselves in authentic relationships, we cannot grow an authentic and engaged community that is committed to knowing God and making Him known. 

If we cannot show kindness to ourselves, how can we show kindness to others?

It is always good and right for us to depend on the grace of the Holy Spirit to open new avenues of friendship. Take time to be kind, even if you fear being taken advantage of or worry you are wrong about caring for someone.  Learn to be genuine with your words and actions and people will appreciate your kindness.

Reflection

 Am I nice? Or am I kind?


© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.