The lost fruit of kindness

I made an observation recently, and found it interesting when a friend said something similar to me the very next day.

Kindness is becoming a lost art.

Real, true, biblical kindness–the sort that makes people feel at ease, welcome and opens the door for hospitality–that seems to be harder and harder to find.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… Galatians 5:22-23

Kindness lost
My friend had just witnessed an exceptionally rude person in front of her at the grocery store, someone who treated the cashier like a servant. I have noticed it in small ways in lots of places – at my son’s school, at the grocery store, at the park and sadly, even at church.

We are busy people. We have to-do lists a mile long. We are driven to succeed in our callings, as moms or as CEOs. We are bombarded with constant messages telling us that our worth is in what we do, what we accomplish and how we manage our lives.

But God tells us in His word that our worth is not found in our accomplishments and achievements, not even in our gifts and talents. Our worth is found only in Him and in Him alone.

Church should be the last place we find people trying to “get an edge” or “get ahead.” We are on the same team with one goal – to spread the gospel of Jesus to the ends of the earth. Too often we measure our “success” at church using the world’s ruler – who has the biggest small group, who gets the best solos, who has the flashier women’s ministry or who gets the most recognition.

And when we don’t find the success that we crave, we become unkind. We gossip, spread negativity and treat people without the love of Christ.

Kindness reclaimed
We need to remember what real kindness is. 1 Corinthians 13:4 reminds us that kindness is connected to love: “Love is patient, love is kind.” In other words, God is patient and kind. He is kind with us, even though we fail Him and fall immeasurably short every single day. He extends a kindness wrapped up in longsuffering – a patience that knows no limits.

This is the type of kindness we are to extend to others–the type of kindness that is the fruit of the Spirit and evidence of our redemption in Christ. We are to show kindness, not because someone deserves it and not because they are kind to us, but because God is kind to us.

In ministry, we need to remember that we are all on the same team. We should not be so consumed with building our own tiny kingdoms that we are willing to step over someone else to get there.

When a church member is difficult to love, be kind to them.
When a fellow staff member or their spouse gives you a cold shoulder, be kind to them.
When you are passed over for a certain position or ministry, be kind to the person who is chosen.
When you have a difficult day, be kind to those around you.

Being kind under trying circumstances takes grace and humility. It acknowledges that how we treat others is the most important work.

To whom do you need to show kindness today?

Published July 28, 2016