The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…Gal 5:22 NIV
Kindness is extending God’s grace to an often unpleasant situation. Many times the easier road to follow is one of impatience, sarcasm, criticism or being judgmental.
For myself, I often need to stop and make the choice to respond with kindness.
Many examples of kindness abound in the Bible. The Good Samaritan could have bypassed the injured man, just like the priest and Levite did, but he chose to demonstrate kindness and to be inconvenienced.
Jesus showed kindness to His mother by changing the water into wine at the wedding feast in Canaan and Jesus fed 5,000 hungry people who had nowhere to go for food.
Life often presents intricate dilemmas and sometimes kindness exhibits another dimension. What about when the action appears to be the antithesis of kindness? Kindness does not always wear the appearance of being nice.
What happens when your children are actively disobeying or are in rebellion? Do you ignore the situation or do you, in kindness, address the problem?
Suppose someone living in your house continues to destroy themselves with drugs or alcohol. Do you still provide them a safe home? What if someone is being physically or verbally abused? Do you hesitate to step in because it might cause repercussions?
Jesus often extended His eternal perspective of kindness to difficult situations. When He was in the temple, he threw the moneychangers out because they were making a mockery of God’s house.
He told the rich ruler to leave all of his possessions and follow Him, even though Jesus knew that the ruler would not do it, and in the Old Testament God did not allow Moses to enter the Promised Land.
The tough side of kindness often exacts a price, but it also opens an avenue for God’s abundant grace to flow into the situation.
This side of kindness does not usually get the instant “thank you for helping me” response that makes us feel good. But if we are willing to walk the hard road when necessary, over time I believe that we can see the Lord’s redemption transform the situation.
Both sides of kindness require hard work. What choice will you make?
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This is a side of kindness we often overlook, and it’s so hard in practice to identify the line between tough love and unkindness. But a heart of love will always be willing to make the attempt, guided by the Spirit of Christ. We’re human, we sometimes will get it wrong.
Not making the attempt is far worse though, it comes from a heart that does not care enough.
Thanks, Marianne, for a great post.
PS – I always think of Jim whenever either of you posts here. Father, bless him with extra grace and peace today.
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Thanks for thinking of me, Chris – especially when Marianne shows me some of that other type of kindness (but only when I deserve it)! 😉
Thanks, Marianne for your post & also, agreed w/u & comment made.
Thanks for another great post, Marianne. Those of us who are dealing with difficult issues such as I am with demensia are experiencing new concepts of each fruit of the Spirit and God is using you to open them up to us. If your father-in-law could express himself, he would pour out gratefulness for how you are helping me to minister to him. We are both so grateful!
Reread this & recognized to walk that hard road especially when it involves assertiveness….think u will understand what I am trying to say 🙂 words not coming.