the fruit of the spirit: kindness
Galatians 5:22- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking, and envying each other. The Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness Here in the United States, we have managed to transition from a pandemic to civil unrest in a mere matter of weeks. At the heart of it all lies social media- the place where everyone has something to say... but is anyone really listening?
I remember when cell phones and the internet first rose to fame during my childhood. With new technology came new danger. Kids could now leave school as friends and return the next day as enemies without even speaking any actual words to one another! A few thoughtless texts and relationships were over for good. As we tried to navigate this new technology, there was a significant amount of discussion about, "cyberbullying" and how to prevent it. Yet when I log into my social media accounts today, I am amazed at how many users have resorted to name-calling, belittling, and unfriending people whose opinions don't match their own. With 95% of users (at least in my friend list) resorting to these sorts of mentally exhausting tactics, it is hard to remember a time when we were against such measures. Now, cyberbullying sadly just seems to be the norm.
If you read my last post addressing injustice and inequality (click here), you are already aware that I believe positivity plays a key role in solving some of America's toughest social issues. Yet when I made such a statement I was scoffed at by some readers. I was told that focusing on and believing in the good "wasn't enough". It appears that the world today believes we need to be mean in order to be heard.
The Bible paints a different picture. According to God, kindness will always bring on positive results:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
At the center of love is kindness- and God is love. True kindness is not something we can learn on our own; true kindness comes from knowing and reflecting the character of God. Sure, society can be kind to others when things are easy, but what about when they are hard? It is in the tough times that we must rely on God to help us treat people in the way He asks us to.
Challenges and hardships often reveal the true characters of the people around us. We don't have to agree on anything to be kind to one another. Kindness is not based on if we see things the same way. Kindness does not have a price tag. No act of kindness, big or small, is wasted- even if it is not publicly recognized. As Gandhi once said, "In a gentle way you can shake the world."
How can you be a beacon of light to a hurting world? How can you be kind when those around you are choosing to be callous. Now more than ever, we as followers of Christ are called to not just preach the gospel but live it.