Kindness: A Key Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5 : 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness [emphasis is mine], goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.

For relationships to succeed long term—at least as the New Testament describes success—kindness is essential. It is a partner with humility. Kindness means to be tender, gentle, sensitive, loving, compassionate. I think we should view it as a skill that we practice in regard to others. It is not merely a nice feeling or sweet intention. A skill involves what we actually do and the manner with which we do it. Kindness is an antidote to self-centeredness, projection, ambition, and aggressiveness. To be kind requires self-knowledge and self-restraint. We have to be able to “see,” be aware, in order to recognize both others and ourselves, to love both others and ourselves. It then requires skill to respond first to the other person and not first to ourselves. We are able to set aside ourselves in order to focus on others and respond to them where they are, where they are coming from. Our response is based fundamentally on compassion. Of course justice plays a role, but in the Christian life love is greater than justice. I Corinthians 13 says that love is the greatest.

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