Dear friends, today is the fifth of a nine-part series walking through the fruits of the Holy Spirit, inspired by: “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.” - Galatians 5:22-23
I wonder what it looks like to be "intentionally kind." Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with my sister Marianne in New Jersey. She took such good care of her older brother, in a very kind, nurturing way. I think of her as "naturally kind." She just came out of the womb as a kind human being. But what about us leaders who are the driven, take-no-prisoner types? I think we have to be very intentional in demonstrating kindness to others. It just does not come naturally!
Sometimes, I can be so focused on achieving results that I forget to nurture the people who are critical to the results being produced. I have to slow down and remind myself to show kindness to everyone, especially those with whom I work, or people that are in a service position.
Several phrases come to mind:
• People will forget what you say, but they will remember how what you said made them feel.
• Say what you mean, and mean what you say, just don't say it mean.
Let's see what Scriptures say about this topic.
The Bible is filled with verses that emphasize the importance of kindness and its crucial role in our relationships with others. The teachings of Jesus and the writings of the apostles have laid a foundation for how we should treat each other. Let's dive into some of these verses:
KINDNESS AS AN ACT OF LOVE
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud." - 1 Corinthians 13:4
Paul's letter to the Corinthians defines love in various ways, and among those definitions is kindness. Love, in its purest form, is expressed through patience and kindness. If we are to show love, then kindness should be a natural expression of that love.
KINDNESS TO ALL
"Do to others as you would have them do to you." - Luke 6:31
Often referred to as the "Golden Rule," Jesus encourages us to treat others with the same kindness and respect that we would like to receive. It's a reminder that our actions and intentions should always lean towards kindness.
KINDNESS IN SPEECH
"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." - 1 Peter 3:15
Even when speaking of our faith or defending our beliefs, we are called to communicate with gentleness. Kindness isn't just about our actions; it's also about our words and how we say them.
KINDNESS AS A WITNESS FOR CHRIST
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." - John 13:35
Our kindness and love for one another serve as a testament to the world that we follow Jesus. When we are intentionally kind, it not only benefits those around us but also bears witness to our faith.
RESPONDING WITH KINDNESS
"Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with a blessing, because to this, you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." - 1 Peter 3:9
Even in the face of adversity or mistreatment, we are encouraged to respond with kindness and blessing. This kind of intentional kindness can be challenging, but it's what we are called to do.
Intentional kindness isn't just a good attribute to have, but it's a core aspect of our Christian faith. It goes beyond just being nice; it's about embodying the love of Christ in our everyday actions and words. As we continue to strive to live like Jesus, may we always remember to be intentionally kind, not just because it's a good thing to do, but because it's a reflection of God's love in us.
Heavenly Father, please help me to be intentionally kind today and every day to your children, who were made by you. May the words that come out of me always be kind and loving, and may I bear witness to your Holy Spirit that is transforming me. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Your aspiring servant, Daniel M.
October 16, 2023
POSTSCRIPT: Dear friends, if this daily, transparent "Conversations with Christ" blesses you, please go to www.SOLIDpastors.org, where you will find these posted, and a repository of all, in English and Spanish. Note: All scriptures quoted are from the NIV.
If you ever want to chat, you can reach me at Daniel@SOLIDpastors.org. May Christ bless you richly as you have your own intimate, daily conversations with Christ.