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The fruit of the spirit is...
Kindness
(Gentleness)
Marc Smith


Don't we all wish to experience kindness from others? It is one of the sweetest manifestations of the change that comes over the new convert. It should always be one of the most evident manifestations of the living word seen by others in the child of God. In fact, all Christians have already been the beneficiaries of the ultimate form of kindness in God's love for us as we can read in Ephesians 2:7, "That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." Because we recognize that this is so, we begin in our faith owing others that which we have already gained through Christ. God's kindness should actually be prayed for just as David did in Psalms 119:76 where he said, "Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant."

Kindness is a most beloved word of God's faithful to be considered. Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." The KJV uses the word "gentleness." The Greek word is chrestotes and is defined by Vines as "goodness of heart, kindness."

We are taught that it is in the completing of the Christian's character to transform us into that which is spiritually "fruitful." 2 Peter 1:4-8, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

In my own experiences as a disciple of Christ, I know that other Christians have shown me almost unending expressions of their kindness. Very often these have come at the time, it seems, when I needed them the most.

When I was a teenager my father preached at Thayer St. church of Christ in Akron, Ohio. Brother Hubert Moss Sr. served for many years there as an elder, and though he has gone on to meet his reward now, he lived to a ripe old age. His example is ever before many, many folks as he impacted them in such good ways through all those years. Upon one occasion, when I was about fourteen or fifteen, brother Moss and I were talking by the front doors of the place of worship. I had become very familiar with him and loved him greatly and was probably the typical preacher's son (somewhat of a smart-aleck, you know!). In an affectionate way he was kidding me and I rashly and immaturely said back to him, "Oh, shut up!" Well, he did not say anything at the time but he sort of rounded me up the next day at the church building and we walked all through the building with his arm across my shoulders as he kindly but clearly scolded me for showing such disrespect for him as an elder of the church. I will never forget his manner, his love, his consideration and above all the kindness of his reproach as he accomplished his goal with me. What skill he had! What an understanding of his role as an elder. I also remember the shame that came over me as the hot blush crept up the back of my neck and into my face! Not then nor in all the years since have I resented his words. Do you want to know why? Because he was right and because he was kind!

I believe that sincere kindness shown by us toward others and not just "those of the household of faith" but to all men can and will accomplish much if only we will show the maturity of our faith to practice it. Rather than arrogance or a snooty self-confidence which will always be interpreted as an air of superiority toward non-believers and is such a "turn-off," we should be kind toward them throughout our entire contact with them.

If we want to convert the lost we must first be kind. If we want to regain our erring brother, we must first be kind. Kindness shows our compassion, our consideration toward them. It shows our harmless nature and it can prove our sincerity is real. Trust comes to those who first are kind in their dealings with others. It is the stamp of Christ in our character. If it is lacking in us, it is why we are unsuccessful or ineffectual in our teaching and our example to others. Please remember to be kind!