Fruit of the Spirit — Kindness & Goodness
Kindness and goodness are two of the fruit of the Spirit that God produces in our lives and the two we are focusing on today. It takes commitment and Christ’ love to show kindness and goodness to everyone you meet. It’s not of our doing, but rather a by-product of what He does in us that makes living by the fruit of the Spirit so special. God is the greatest picture of kindness and goodness that we will ever know.
As I prepared to write this post I came across an article on the Fruit of the Spirit by author Tim Kight. He carefully wove biblical examples and the greek meanings of both words with powerful descriptions that serve as take aways from Galatians 5:22-23. He explained that kindness carries the idea of helpfulness. It is the willingness to serve the needs of others. And that goodness is to be both kind and strong, tender and tough. That’s typically how we show our kindness and goodness–by helping and encouraging others. But it’s also about finding a balance between the encouragement we give with a tough love that’s needed if we are to stand strong in our faith.
There is a ‘kindness movement’ trending across the world today as social media promotes messages that say: kindness is free, treat others how you want to be treated, and kindness is the little thing that matters most. It’s a movement that I pray takes up residence in all of our hearts as we seek to honor Him through our actions. But what does it mean to be kind and good? It means to show kindness and goodness to everyone you meet. It means Jesus recognized what we needed before we did. It also means that He wants us to be compassionate and understanding; to care for others with a pure spirit; and to realize that true life only comes through Christ.
The definition of kindness means to be friendly, generous and considerate. It’s about treating people with a genuine tenderness and warmth. It’s what I want for my own life too.
As Christians, we have the opportunity every day to model kindness to those we meet. Our actions speak volumes about who we are. Instead of showing disrespect or gossiping about someone, let’s help a friend with a chore, speak sweet, tender words to someone struggling, or take a minute to write a note that conveys how much we appreciate someone. Every good and perfect gift comes from God above.
Treat Others as You Want to be Treated
Growing up I remember my mother saying, “Treat others as you want to be treated.” In other words, follow the golden rule [Matthew 7:12]. I made some mistakes along the way and endured some parenting moments that remain unforgettable. But through those teachings I learned how important it is to treat others well because every single person matters. Even those who don’t reciprocate the way we want still deserve our very best. The reminder from my mother has served me well over the course of my life because one kind word breathes life into those we meet. I know how sweet words make me feel and it is my responsibility to treat others in the same manner.
The Bible says, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7 ESV
We can’t always control how people respond to us, but our actions are a direct reflection of God.
Be a Kinder, Gentler People
Two of my favorite biblical characters are Ruth and Boaz. Ruth stayed with Naomi when she didn’t have to. The sacrifices she made to protect her mother-in-law did not go unnoticed. God knew what she was doing and looked upon her with favor. He saw to it that her life would change when she met Boaz. He too, was a kind and generous man who was sensitive to the needs of others. He blessed his employees and all he knew with kind words. Boaz helped others openly and his generosity stretched beyond his own interests and became more about what he could do for others. When he met Ruth, he was so impressed by her attributes and dedication to Naomi that he married her.
Ruth and Boaz show us that we can be a kinder, gentler people. We honor God when we show His grace, mercy, and tenderness to others. Aspiring to be like Christ allows us to grow in the fruit of Spirit.
Righteousness in Action
Goodness is righteousness in action and doing what’s right. It’s the quality of being morally good or virtuous.
We only need to look at the goodness of our Father to know how blessed we are. As Christians we are to follow the examples of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Not because we can do it on our own, but because He lives in our hearts and covers us with His love and grace.
I am forever thankful for the goodness Christ shows to me. In return, true goodness means I’m to live my life for Christ. We all have chances to show our thankfulness, spread the gospel, and sing His praises, and we can do so anytime, anywhere.
Goodness is our commitment to choose right over wrong and good over evil. We are made in His image because He resides in our hearts. Our goodness glorifies God.
King Hezekiah is an example of goodness. When he took the throne in Judah, things were in chaos and despair. In turn he focused on obedience and pointed the people to God. He sought God with his whole heart and because of his dependence on God his confidence was unshakeable. His goodness brought great joy and happiness.
The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 31:20-21, that Hezekiah ‘did what was good, right, and true before the Lord his God.
The Beauty of Goodness
Isn’t God’s goodness beautiful? Hezekiah knew things weren’t right in Judah and he took important steps to make them better. He wasn’t perfect but his commitment to Christ was solid.
God’s Word says, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10 ESV
God wants us to shine bright for Him. He wants us to exemplify kindness and goodness as He helps us grow and live by the Spirit. Show kindness and goodness to everyone you meet.
How do you show kindness to others? How do you feel when others shower you with kindness?
What are some practical ways to show goodness?
As you pray, ask God to help you recognize His kindness over and over.
Dear Lord, I thank you today for your kindness, goodness, mercy, and grace. I’m grateful that you love us despite our shortcomings and sinful nature. I pray today that we feel chosen. Chosen by You to do Your great work–to nurture and tend to others as You do for us. To help us find balance in the goodness we offer to others, as we stand firmly in our faithfulness to you. Amen.