Galatians 5:22-23 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,[a] 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
I had thought that this one would be an easy blog post to write, however, it was more difficult than I imagined. So I didn’t get the post fully written in the week period I’d been planning. I’d rather be late and have a well thought out post than it be hurried with scattered thoughts laid out in disjointed sentences. Even so, I’m not sure I can achieve that end.
I began with the following statement: Kindness and goodness are closely related. As I perceive it, kindness is goodness in action and goodness is the moral state of the heart that results in kindness being shown to others.
From there I went on to seek what the Bible says about these two fruit of the spirit. There is so much in scripture about Yahuah’s lovingkindness to his people. That word lovingkindness is one of several translations for the Hebrew word chêsêd, or the Romanized version hesed, a word that has no true English translation. It is a covenant word and would take this post in a whole different direction than I want to go. Maybe I’ll cover it another time.
I have read scripture through more than once and many parts hundreds of times. I know in my heart that God is kind to his people, yet when we do not walk in his ways he is a strict disciplinarian, as any parent can understand. In his kindness and goodness he is patient, though, and gives us opportunity after opportunity to repent of our sins and turn back to following his instruction. He loves us and does not desire that any should perish.
For me, God’s kindness and goodness is abundantly clear as I look back on my life. The kindness he has shown me is far beyond my human ability to display. It is only through the Holy Spirit that I can be kind to others. I won’t tell of any particular instances where I’ve shown kindness to others, honestly, it is the Spirit of God who does those things through me. Most I probably cannot remember anyway because it is just a way of life when you walk in the ways of God.
God shows kindness to his servants. There are many accounts in the Old Testament of his kindness and favor toward his people. The Lord showed kindness to Lot when he rescued him from the coming destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19). He showed kindness to Abraham when Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac (Genesis 24). God showed kindness to Joseph when he was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers. First when Potipher made him head over his household, then afterward when the jailer gave him control over all the prisoners and again when Pharaoh made him second in command of the entire land of Egypt so that he could prepare the country for the coming famine. The many examples of what Christ did during his ministry, healing the sick, forgiving sins, teaching about the Kingdom of God are all manifestations kindness toward us. God’s kindness to us is an example of how we should treat others. Unless we have God’s Holy Spirit in our lives it is difficult to show kindness to others. The Bible tells us that the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel (Proverbs 12:10). We are all born as sinful creatures, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). In our fallen sinful state kindness does not come naturally.
Yeshua said in Matthew 10 that only God is good. Yahuah is abundant in goodness (Exodus 34:6). His goodness is manifested in his benevolent mercy toward us, his creation, and his long abiding patience with sinners in giving us time to repent of sins and return to him. In regard to the fruit of goodness in man Easton’s Bible Dictionary has this to say: “Goodness in man is not a mere passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right to wrong, the firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil, and the choosing and following of all moral good.” When we have the fruit of the Spirit then the goodness in us comes from God and we are able to choose the good over evil that tempts and assaults us daily. Only from the Lord is it in our heart to be of good moral character and that because we know Yeshua his Son.
May goodness and mercy follow you all the days of your life.