The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal. 5:22-23)
The fifth indicator of the presence of the Holy Spirit in someone's life and soul is kindness. Those whose heart and affections have been truly taken hold of by the love and kindness of God will in turn display love and kindness toward others. But what does it mean to be kind? In particular, how is kindness different from goodness or gentleness? The underlying Greek word is chrestotes and carries the meaning of “uprightness in one’s relations with others or the quality of being helpful or beneficial.” In other words, people who possess and display kindness toward others are those who seek to make the lives of others a little easier. They are considerate of others, of their time, their lives, their thoughts, emotions, and wellbeing. People who possess and display kindness as a fruit of the Holy Spirit are the sort of people others look forward to being around and working with. They are the sort of people who do not leave a wake of destruction in their past, of whom others would be hard-pressed to find anyone who could speak an unkind word about them. It is difficult to say unkind things about people who are always kind and considerate. Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit because Jesus is kind. Regarding himself Jesus says, “a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench” (Matt. 12:20). Unfortunately, our culture views kindness as weakness. Television and movies glorify the cowboy-John-Wayne-Clint-Eastwood characters who do things their way and ‘to hell with the rest,’ who speak their mind and ‘let the chips fall where they may.’ Those who think this way or behave this way likely do not have the Holy Spirit living in them and are likely not saved. If I am truly saved and have been crucified with Christ, then “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20), and if Christ lives in me and through me, then I ought to display the kindness of Christ.
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