Written by: Shani Ratliff
“But the fruit of the Spirit is…kindness…” Galatians 5:22 NIV
“And if they are saved by God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s wonderful kindness would not be what it really is – free and undeserved.” Romans 11:6
Last month, when we each were picking which word in this series to write about, I was initially drawn to the word kindness and did not really know why. I began to think about it in correlation to the fruit of the Spirit. I wanted to be sure I really thought it through.
If someone asked me my personal definition of the word I would say “nice” or “pleasant”. However, today I am learning that it is deeper than that. The kindness the Spirit produces flows from the bottomless well of God’s grace and mercy.
As I reflected on times when kindness was shown to me, I remembered a time during the first trimester of my last pregnancy. I had literally taken up residence on my living room couch due to intense nausea and fatigue. I was not able to care for my family very much and cooking was out of the question.
A neighbor of ours brought us dinner every Wednesday for about 4 weeks. Many other church members blessed us with meals as well. My neighbor’s and church member’s kindness compassionately met a specific need that my family and I had. They most definitely did not have to do it, but it was so greatly appreciated and needed.
Kindness, when directed by the holy spirit, can be seen as an act or expression of sincere generosity — unexpected and undeserved. It is beyond my original thought of “nice”. It is deep consideration of the needs of another. An act of kindness conveys the message that “I see you”.
Romans 11:6 refers to a kindness that cannot be worked for or earned. It is given. I am so grateful for the kindness of the Lord. I know that I can’t earn it, and I truly don’t deserve it, but He gives it to me anyways.
God’s kindness flows from deep compassion and from a heart that knows us and loves us more than we can fathom. His kindness is shown in many different ways but one thing is always the same — it is beyond what we could ever repay.
“The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to get angry, full of unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.” Psalm 145:8-9
As we stay connected to God and seek His heart, his Spirit of true kindness will flow through us. It will be more than just “nice”. He will allow us to love deeper and see people through eyes of compassion even when they don’t deserve it.