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  • Keith Harris

The Fruit of the Spirit

The concept of kindness in seen throughout scripture. Not only in the teaching of the New Testament writers, but especially in the life and ministry of Jesus, kindness serves as a clear mark of one who understands that kind of heart God desires His people to possess. Notice the following passages: “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…” (Colossians 3:12), “A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself” (Proverbs 11:17), “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26), “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10), “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (Luke 6:35), “Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off” (Romans 11:22), “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

The Greek word translated as “kind” means “fit, fit for use, virtuous, good, mild, pleasant, kind, or benevolent.” It is used as the opposite of harsh, hard, sharp, or bitter. In Matthew 11:30, it is translated as “easy”: “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” In 1 Corinthians 15:33, it is translated as “good”: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” And in 1 Peter 2:1-3, it is also translated as “good”: “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation — if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” Interesting enough, in Ephesians 4, Paul connects two other traits with kindness: tenderhearted and forgiving.

Think about God’s kindness. Perhaps Paul, more so than the other New Testament writers, stresses the kindness of God, especially seen in His redemptive work in Christ. In Titus 3:4-6, Paul wrote, “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior…” Because of God’s kindness, we have been saved through faith in Christ. According to God’s kindness, we have the wonderful blessing of God’s mercy, regeneration, and renewal.

As is the case with patience, kindness has a foundation that we must acknowledge. “Love is patient, love is kind…” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Love is the foundation of God’s kindness toward us. And love must serve as the basis for our kindness toward others. The Fruit of the Spirit is kindness.



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