Mark Twain once stated that ... Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. King Solomon said simply and poignantly in Proverbs 19:22 (New American Standard Version) that ... What is desirable in a man is his kindness ... . The wisdom of these two men concur in that kindness is most evident when it is present, and when its not, is equally evident in its absence. As all the fruits of the Spirit are grounded and based in love, so kindness is oftentimes the direct manifestation as love gets "acted out". The other eight fruits of the Spirit are often more positional, meaning that they are evident within a human soul by simply the in-working of His presence. We are full of love, because God dwells within us and He is love. We are full of joy because God is full of joy. However, kindness is often conditional and can be measured more so by "acts" toward others. Certainly, all the fruits of the Spirit can be both positional and conditional, but as we will see kindness is often the hallmark manifestation of its fellow fruits and most demonstrably by love. While the word "kindness" is found only 44 times in the bible (New American Standard Bible), the word "lovingkindness" is found 182 times, denoting the conditional outworking of kindness from the positional fruit of love. Kindness is simply the outworking of the nature of God's love in all instances.
"Acts of kindness" appear every day all around us. All are noteworthy and important to sustain a balance of love on this planet we call Earth. The Law of Reciprocity, which many believe to be a universal law, states that what we give we will get back in return. Those of us who believe in God and Jesus Christ know that ... whatsoever a man sows, that he will also reap. With a belief and an understanding of this immutable law, it is important for all humankind to look beyond themselves and extend kindness to others. However, being kind to others can have its roots in humanism and new age beliefs and also diametrically rooted in the fruit of God's Spirit. One will have a temporal, time-bound result while the other is eternal and everlasting. It all has to do with whose nature one is operating from -- God's nature or that of the unregenerate, fallen nature of those who don't know Christ as their Savior. Peter talks specifically about operating from the Divine Nature in II Peter 1:4-8. He begins by stating that those who know Christ have become partakers of Christ's Nature. With that Godly Nature, Peter exhorts the churches in Asia to both "apply" and "supply". As Jesus Christ's gift to all humankind was His Divine Nature, it is our responsibility and duty to make sure it is manifested throughout our lives. Peter states in verses 5 through 7 that you who have accepted God's gracious gift should be ... applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. As stated, diligence is the only thing that should be applied, and we should then supply the remainder from His Nature He has bestowed. Peter hits a crescendo by finishing with love which of course is the main driver for all the fruits of the Spirit. Brotherly kindness is tied directly to love, for without the out-working of this potent fruit there is a lack of validation of true love. Love should always be tied inseparably to kindness as it manifests its way. Peter goes on to say in verse 8: For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle knew that to be growing in all the fruits of the Spirit, especially brotherly kindness in love was "true knowledge", not the knowledge of this world that would seek to imitate that of the Divine Nature.
As previously stated, kindness can be recognized daily in numerous instances. However, where there is genuine, sincere kindness that is borne from above, there is ALWAYS a counterfeit that Satan conjures up to mimic that which is of God. If the devil can get folks interested in being kind and benevolent to others, devoid of having accepted Christ and being rooted in the Divine Nature, then he has succeeded in masquerading kindness to appear to be godly. Without a doubt, there will be many on that last day when standing before the Lord who will say "Lord, were we not great philanthropists and did we not give all of our time and money to charity to help others?" He will say on that day to many of these, "Depart from Me, for I never KNEW you." Jesus is not interested in people giving of themselves unless they first accept that He GAVE everything in the greatest act of kindness the world has ever known. That supreme act of love and generosity is being patiently worked out daily as God woos the lost to accept His free gift. Paul wrote in Romans 2:4: Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Beloved, before we can be kind or before we can be loving, we must first accept Him and allow His Divine Nature to live through us. Otherwise, it means very little in our temporal states and NOTHING for eternity. Sure, if someone does not know the Lord and is kind to another individual, they will enjoy a brief moment of affirmation. They might even experience good things happening in their lives due to their generosity and kindness in others, due to the Law of Reciprocity. However, as Paul stated by the Holy Spirit in I Corinthians 13:3, And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Paul speaks of the kindness and love that only come from that Divine Impartation, for without His kindness motivating us to help others it is futile and of no lasting value.
Jesus taught a remarkable lesson in His parable regarding the tares and the wheat. In this life lesson, Jesus reveals how "good and religious persons" might look in comparison to those born of His Spirit and producing the fruit therein (Matthew 13:24-30). According to the parable, an enemy planted tares amongst the wheat of a landowner. The tares, or the "counterfeit" wheat did not become evident until they had grown side by side with the wheat for some time. (Tares have a remarkably similar plant structure, and are not easily identifiable except by those who know the difference until they reach maturity.) Rather than pulling up the tares, the landowner told his servants to let them both grow until the harvest and then the tares would be thrown into the fire. Beloved, there are many nice, kind-hearted people all around us that are doing seemingly wonderful acts of kindness, yet they are counterfeits in the eyes of God if they have not given their lives to Jesus and are not living in His nature. There will be a time and a day when we all stand before God to give an account of our lives. Many will seek to justify themselves BY their "acts" or their deeds. Jesus Christ will be attesting to those who loved Him and served Him by the acts that they did THROUGH Him. The only difference between the genuine and the counterfeit boils down to relationship. What is the motivating power behind the acts of kindness we demonstrate? If it is not motivated through His nature it amounts to nothing other than selfish, earthly interest that has a temporal lifespan. However, if our acts of kindness are born through a Divine relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, they will last forever having been born out of the eternal source, God Himself!
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your kindness in that while we were yet sinners, You died for us. Let us go forth as ambassadors of your love and kindness to a dying world. In Your Name, Amen.
Your Barefoot Servant,