August 5, 2018 Series: Fruit of the Spirit
Topic: Love Scripture: Galatians 5:22, Colossians 3:12
Think about a friend of yours who is significantly different from you. How do you treat them, talk with them, and care for them when areas of significant disagreement arise? There are so many places in our world today where this type of friendship is threatened by a militant tolerance that actually undermines the very real differences that exist. Instead of embracing extreme tolerance and overlooking our differences, what if Christians were known for their kindness?
The Bible mentions kindness quite often, but it still seems like a squishy and wishy-washy thing to many Christians today. It isn’t simply being “nice” to people or “doing good” to those who are mean to you. Kindness is much more a matter of the heart than it is of the hands.
Biblical kindness is first and foremost God-oriented. “Kindness” is used to describe God’s attitude towards sinners (Nahum 1:7 , Psalm 100:5 , Romans 11:21 –22, Ephesians 2:6 –7). You see, kindness is more than something Christians are called to do – it’s an attribute of God’s nature we are called to reflect. Kindness is anchored in the grace, mercy, and steadfast love of God to rescue sinners who rejected him. It moves towards those who are in great need precisely because they’re in such great need.
With all this in mind, we see that Christian kindness is about more than we usually think about when we hear the word “kindness.” We are called to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. And yet, when we look at our own heart we do not see the heart of God, but a selfish one. This is why kindness is a fruit of the Spirit, because it is the work of God in us. Consider the heart of God as the image and we are the mirrors, reflecting his loving kindness to our neighbor in order to glorify our Heavenly Father.
If you want to grow in Christian kindness, let me offer these seven thoughts on moving towards kindness from Barry Corey’s book, “Love Kindness.”
- Become more involved in the culturally unfamiliar.
- Become creators of goodness and beauty.
- Approach the opposition by leading with humility.
- Fear not when your grace is met with hostility.
- Remain deeply rooted in biblical faithfulness.
- Evangelism is at the heart of why we live this way.
- Remember Christ centeredness means we’ll never be marginalized.