How to be Kind {Fruits of the Spirit}

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, 
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23
 
Kindness.  It's easy to do when someone is kind to you first, or at the very least neutral, but what about when they aren't? Is kindness necessary then as well?  
 
Thankfully, yes.  Kindness is always expected of us, it is not circumstantial or whimsical. God expects us to be kind no matter what.  Even if people lie to us or about us, even if they tell people not to have anything to do with us, kindness is still expected. Even if we have to fake it, because you know what? Being willing to "fake it until we make it" shows our true heart and desire to be like Him, even if we can't quite do it genuinely.  We have the want to want to and even if it's hard, we do it anyway because that is what you do when you are growing the spirit of Christ within yourself. 
 
Why is kindness necessary? Several reasons. 
 
--Kindness leads to repentance.  The Message says "In kindness He takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life change".  We are told that a kind word turns anger away from our lives but a harsh word will fan the flames (Proverbs 15:1). Kindness = positive behavior change (if even just for us) and anger = more anger.  By being kind we are choosing not to play the game.  Don't play the game.  Kindness turns us away from sin, not towards.  Kindness provides soil for goodness to grow.    
 
 
--Kindness improves our lives.  By being kind, even where it is hard, we are making a choice to improve our lives, even when anger would be so much more satisfying in the moment, choosing kindness brings long lasting satisfaction.  Kindness is ultimately a self-improvement tool.  Proverbs 3:3 Tells us to bind kindness and truth around our necks.  I've found that truth and kindness go hand in hand.  If you are standing on truth, kindness is obtainable.  If you know you are wrong, anger will prevail.  Studies show that kind people tend to live longer, too! :) 
 
--Choosing kindness shows our character.  Decide the person you want to be when emotions are normal and strive to be that person when emotions are high strung.  Hold yourself accountable to behaving in such a way that YOU will be pleased with your behavior when emotions are calm again.  Choosing kindness will always leave you pleased with the character you have shown.  YOU come out on top and can present yourself to God knowing that you did your best!       

--Kindness is contagious!  Find yourself in a funk, neck deep in a difficult situation? The good news that you have total control of YOU and a good amount of influence on the people you love.  You making the choice to be kind will influence the behavior around you.  Kindness begets kindness and snuffs out the flames of anger, drama and crazy. 
 
--We save ourselves from stumbling.  By choosing kindness we deter pride and self-righteous anger, which, as we are told, leads to destruction {Proverbs 16:18}.  Choosing kindness where someone else is choosing anger is a humbling act.  You are saying "I will not defend myself.  I will smile at you and CHOOSE my behavior not based on what you are doing to me but what God expects of me".  You are standing opened arms with no defense.  Imagine a boxer standing that way in the ring?  Choosing kindness removes us from the fight altogether.  
 
--Kindness is freeing.  Ultimately kindness is a tool for freeing ourselves.  By choosing kindness as a blanket policy we don't have to waste energy debating or dissecting every situation.  Just choose the kind thing (even if we have to fake it for now) and do that every time.  We are responsible only for how we behave, therefore, we only have to think about our behaviors.  Checking the kindness box across the board frees us up to focus our energy elsewhere.       

Believe me, I know choosing kindness is not always easy or fun.  The humanness in us wants justice or retaliation but in the end doing those things for ourselves just creates more havoc in our lives.  Allowing God to do those things for you is so much more satisfying anyway!  
 
Choose to pick kindness every time and remove yourself from the games people try to play with you.  It's freeing and much less stressful and is the ultimate way to say:

"You are not the boss of me!".

Does kindness come easy to you?  Have there been times where kindness has diffused a situation in your life?

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