Fruits of the Spirit: Kindness

“He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does God require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
Kindness is, according to, “being selfless, caring, compassionate and unconditionally kind. Like love, it takes practice to understand and feel it. We share love with others through kind acts such as a smile, a nice word, on unexpected deed, or a planned surprise.”
This website goes on to differentiate between just being “nice” and being kind. Kindness is intentional and is intentional even when it’s hard. Kindness is extending grace, so kindness is forgiveness. Kindness is love. Kindness is patience. Kindness is related to all the other Fruits of the Spirit…they all kind of intermingle.
One of the best ways to teach kindness is to observe it in others. You model for your children how to be kind as you live your life, and they notice. They notice when you are intentionally kind not just to them but to others, maybe even people they know are hard for you to deal with. Kindness can be as simple as taking the time to hold the door for someone, or just listening when someone needs to talk, and kindness can be deep and profound and occur over long periods of time like providing care for a loved one.
Here are some of the ways I am working on being kind:
  • I’m trying to not always have an agenda, so I can just enjoy someone’s company
  • I’m trying to make a point of greeting people I don’t know and introducing myself (I always forget to introduce myself and others, probably because of the whole agenda thing)
  • And I know this sounds kind of corny but I’m trying to understand rather than be understood, to forgive rather than be forgiven, to love rather than be loved, to listen rather than speak, to give of my time rather than taking someone’s.
Simple things (I never said easy), done with great love.
-Carolyn Hayes,
Director of Children and Young Family Ministries