Have you ever been the recipient of kindness with no strings attached, leaving you feeling extremely grateful? I certainly have but wonder if those moments could be more prevalent today and question how often I really extend that type of blessing toward others.
Paul wrote about the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, 23. The attributes of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are certainly appealing to followers of Christ. These qualities present a high standard, one I aspire to live up to. But does the average disciple pay close attention to this passage while trying to develop and practice these fruits?
Think about kindness. In a list like this, kindness is easily passed over. But a closer look shows us that kindness can impact our daily walk and make a difference for Christ in those around us.
What does a kind Christian look like and how can we grow in this area?
Being a Kind Christian
Kindness is a selfless act, an expression of care for someone else that expects nothing in return. As Christians, what would our life look like if it was characterized by kindness? Would people see the character of Christ more easily in us?
Recently as I read Galatians 5 again, I prayerfully decided to focus on extending more kindness to others, believing that other expressions of the Spirit’s fruit would become more evident in my life by default.
The circumstances we face in life can become less difficult and frustrating, and we can become more amicable simply by taking the time to be kind instead of harsh or selfish. Kindness softens the heart of both the giver and receiver. Kind Christians are eager to bless those around them and thus bring glory to the Lord.
Kind Is Better than Nice
A close friend of mine regularly reminds her children to be kind to each other. She knows there is a difference between being kind and being nice. Let me explain.
To be nice is a pleasantry, an attempt to do the acceptable and right thing. It’s fairly easy to turn on and off, depending on the person or situation before you.
To be kind is something else. Kind Christians have a sincere desire to extend themselves in order to help others, to be friendly, and to be caring. In other words, kindness is a matter of the heart, something that is rooted in character.
Kind people are thoughtful. They don’t require attention or a pat on the back when they’ve shown kindness to others. They are selfless and happy in their service.
So what is kindness? It is the quality of being considerate, generous, caring, and friendly toward others. Who wouldn’t want more of that in their life?
To be kind is to be sensitive to the needs of others. Kind people are not easily offended. They are quick to extend grace and forgive others.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). To be kind is to be like Jesus. Imagine the beauty that would be seen in Christ’s followers if we all had “the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
Ways to Grow
How can we take on the mindset of Christ when it comes to kindness? The best way to grow in areas like this is be in close relationship with the one who has the power to change us. As you set out to grow in kindness, pay attention to the following areas.
- Spend time daily reading God’s Word.
- Spend time praying, asking God to help you grow in kindness.
- Find an accountability partner who will challenge you to grow in kindness.
- Memorize Bible verses that encourage kindness.
- Look for opportunities to show kindness to those around you.
First Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” Demonstrating kindness to the people we encounter daily reflects the loving heart of our Lord.
Making Time for Kindness
Hectic schedules and tight timeframes seem to be the norm today. What if we slowed down, thinned out our schedule a bit, and tried to squeeze in a bit more kindness? We have the potential to impact others for Christ through our acts of kindness, but we may need to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of life to act upon the opportunities.
Proverbs 11:25 says, “Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Slowing down to invest in others will bring refreshment to your life and to the ones you bless and treat kindly.
Opportunities to Display Kindness
As I took a closer look at this fruit of the Spirit, I began to pray for opportunities to display kindness to those around me. Here are some of the opportunities I listed.
- Smile when making eye contact with others.
- Speak encouraging words at every opportunity.
- Send an encouraging note to friend.
- Volunteer to do a job no one wants.
- Take a meal to someone in need.
- Take time to listen.
- Turn the other cheek.
- Visit a shut-in.
- Extend grace.
- Offer to pray with those who share a concern.
Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as Gods chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Followers of Christ should be clothed with kindness and ready at a moment’s notice to make a difference for Christ in the lives of others.
Kindness and Christlikeness
Kindness is an expression of Christ’s character. Jesus displayed this spiritual fruit consistently and unconditionally to those around him.
Think about the impression followers of Christ can make on the world by demonstrating kindness in all our interactions. Rather than view us with skepticism, people will see us as trustworthy, loving, and truly kind.
The kind Christian is selfless, loving, caring, and asks nothing in return. Let’s take every opportunity to bless others through our kindness while making a difference for Christ. Let’s stand out as kind Christians by ensuring that kindness radiates from us and finds expression in the way we value and treat others.
Kelly Cox is a professional writer from North Carolina, a blessed wife, and a new mom to a precious little girl.