Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Fruit of the Spirit: Day 7: Kindness


The words Paul uses here “chrestotes”, like several of the words in his list, could be translated in a number of ways. At its root, it is about giving people what they need, and that’s not a bad way of thinking about kindness. We need to be observant to be truly kind, to notice people and treat them as equal to ourselves, deserving of our respect and generosity. Otherwise the “kindness” we think we are showing may be simply patronising, assuming we know what they need more than they do.
In the Bible, kindness is an important attribute of God, though often this word, and its Hebrew equivalents are translated as “good” or “generous”, so we may miss this. “Taste and see that the Lord is kind” says Psalm 34.8 (more often translated “good”), “happy are those who take refuge in him.” Why? Because “those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” He gives us what we need.

In the Gospels, Jesus tells of a vineyard owner who pays all his workers the same wage, a denarius, no matter how long or short a time they worked for him. Those who had worked longer were angry, but the denarius was the usual daily wage, enough to support someone and their family for a day. It matters more to the owner that everyone has enough to eat at the end of the day than what his workers think of him. It is more important to him to be kind than it is to be popular. (Matthew 20.1-16)

·         When can you remember someone being kind to you?
·         What does it feel like when someone is unexpectedly kind?
·         Pray: that God will show you where you could do a kindness today.

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