“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Kindness sounds like something you learn from a kindergarten class. You can hear that finger-wagging teacher now: “Make sure to be nice and treat one another with kindness.”
The discipline of kindness traces back to our childhood. From the very beginning, we are taught and conditioned to be kind to one another. However, kindness goes much farther than saying “please” and “thank you” to people you interact with. Those are manners.
Kindness comes from a heart posture of gratitude, but also sincerity in treating one another with respect and niceness.
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6-7)
Kindness is more than an action when you interact with people. It’s how you present yourself amongst other people. Your character that shines through you can be dressed in the posture of kindness.
Let me ask you this: Have you ever gone to a public tourist location, like the beach or the Grand Canyon? Sometimes, you would like a photo of the group that you’re with (something other than a selfie). You sheepishly walk up to a perfect stranger, hand them your beloved technology and ask them to snap a photo. Why did you pick that person?
When I do this, I choose the person who looks the nicest, who isn’t going to huff, scowl and walk away. I choose the person who expresses an emphatic, “Absolutely!” when I beg the question.
Kindness flows from us. It is a heart and character posture. It is the notion that every person deserves to be treated with respect and kindness.
But there’s more to it. If you look through the Scriptures, you see that the word “kindness” is used within the contexts of mercy and humble servitude to one another, much like the verse above in Ephesians. The “riches of [God’s] grace” is shown through the kindness shown to us through Jesus, who He was, what He did and the mercy and servitude-like love that was shown through His sacrifice for us.
So, listen to your elementary school teacher and take a lesson from the photo-obsessed families at the Grand Canyon about kindness.
But, most importantly, look to the cross. See the kindness and mercy that Christ perfectly portrayed in His ultimate sacrifice for each and every one of us.
The Department of Spiritual Life writes weekly devotionals for our blog, including our Fruit of the Spirit series. To learn more about Spiritual Life at Grand Canyon University, request more information from us today!