Devotional 3/31/2020 Fruit of the Spirit- Kindness

A little garlic tends to go a long way.  A lesson I keep trying to teach my spouse when he cooks.  You do not need alot of it to impact the flavor of a whole dish.  Oddly enough this is what I think of when I think of kindness.  That a little kindness goes a long way and changes the flavor of encounters, relationships and even our whole lives. 

Kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit I think that we can too quickly overlook.  We know about love and joy as Christians and have heard lots about them.  Self control is about the sins we should not have and goodness and faithfulness just make sense when talking about faith.  But sometimes we slide right past kindness.  

The actual definition of kindness is 'the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate" (from the Oford dictionary).  When you look at this definition there is actually so much within kindness.  Being friendly, generous and considerate are all things Jesus modeled throughout his ministry.  We do not often make kindness a top descriptor of Jesus but when you look at his life and ministry we see this in abundance.  As Christians we are called to model this.  Yet, too often we breeze right by it.  

I have a friend who for years was a sales associate at Macy's.  She came to hate the Christmas season because of how people acted in the stores towards employees.  And she told me the worst time to work was Sunday.  That people would show up still in their church clothes and yell at her for the store not having the right size or color.  She had had things thrown at her, people threatened to have her fired, she was cursed out (regularly) and even once spit on by a woman dressed to the nines.  

I have to say I am genuinely appalled by this behavior by Christians which is the opposite of kindness.  And I will say it drove a wedge between my friend and attending church because of how she saw people act.  Luckily in her case she maintained a personal relationship with God, but how often would this behavior drive a wedge there too? 

I am going to say I really hope none of you are these people.  Out there yelling at people trying to just make a living because you can't have what you want when you want it.  Even if they are rude to you, I remind all of us that that does not actually ecuse any behavior on our behalf. 

We are called to be kind to others plain and simple.  Right now it may feel like you have less people to be kind to.  With staying at home, we have fewer encounters so we have less chances to be kind.  Which may be somewhat true.  But there are certainly ways you should be cultivating this fruit even now.  Since kindness wraps friendly, considerate and generous all in one there are actually lots of ways we can be kind right now.  It is very considerate to give a call to someone who might be lonely or bored.  It is friendly to send cards and to say thank you to the people who serve us in different ways.  It is generous to give money to people and organizations who need it.  And it is generous to give of your time through phone calls or other ways of staying in touch. 

Basically there is plenty of ways to even now practice and improve this fruit of the Spirit.  And a little bit of kindness will go a long way in this time.  So make a call, send a card, say thank you.  Find ways to be kind and keep at it even when you do not want to!  

Today as you have time flip through the Gospel of Luke and notice the times that Jesus practices  kindness (generosity, friendliness and consideration).  And then pray that you might seek to grow kindness as it was and is modeled by Jesus Christ. 

Peace and Love, 

Beth