Posted by: Postordinandy | June 4, 2010

Kindness, simple really.

We continue our examination of the fruit of the spirit with the fruit of kindness.

To kick us off, we were asked to see if we could come up with any examples of kindness being offered in the bible. We came up with quite a few, some of which are listed below (in no chronological order!):

  • The story of Ruth, who first gives, and then receives tremendous and unexpected kindness.
  • The parable of the Good Samaritan
  • Moses is taken in by the Egyptian princess
  • The widow who feeds Elijah from the little she has (she also receives a kindness in return)
  • Rahab who offers hospitality and safety to the spies at Jericho (and is later spared as a result of her kindness)
  • Joseph of Aramathea, who offered a kindness to the dead body of Christ, at no little personal risk
  • Rebekah offering Isaac’s servant water by the well
  • Peter & John went to pray
  • Tabitha, known as someone who “was always doing good and helping the poor”
  • The characteristics of early church
  • Hosea being willing to forgive his unfaithful wife Gomer
  • Joseph helping his brothers in Egypt (although admittedly he played a little trick on them too)
  • The fathers’ attitude to both his sons in the parable of the prodigal son

Quite a list, and as I said, nowhere near all of the examples in the Bible.

As we reflected on the character of kindness, it occurred to us that it so easily has a lasting impact on both the giver and receiver. Kindness is something that goes beyond the minimum expected, offering someone something that brings comfort and pleasure – and often in very simple ways.

We shared examples of kindness we had received, and began to see certain patterns emerging. Kindness is expressed as the gift of time, space, a service; it leaves the recipient feeling as if they are worth something, appreciated. Kindness, like so many of the fruit of the spirit, is self-replicating – it is hard to receive it and not feel inclined to offer kindness in turn. Kindness blurs into other things, especially unconditional love.

At St Luke’s in the High Street, we would love to be known as a people of kindness. This can only happen if we are consistent in demonstrating this quality. One act of unkindness will deeply impact and shape our relationship with not only the individual concerned, but will have ripples of effect far beyond that. And unkindness can easily be passive – simply a lack of kindness, not necessarily something done which is unkind in itself.

To nurture and grow in kindness, we need to consciously make the effort to discern and act on opportunities that present themselves, and we cannot act in kindness from a motivation of wanting something in return – kindness cannot be forged in this way, but must be a generous act of self-giving, even if the act itself is as simple as taking 5 minutes to talk to a homeless person as an equal, or smiling at someone as they walk past.

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Responses

  1. thanks for writing here mate, its good to read x

  2. […] can too easily steer us to acts of general, non-specific, non-committal kindness, and ‘good’ is often used as a rather weak word – like nice – see goody two-shoes, […]


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