Christopher J. H. Wright: Biblical Kindness

We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love. 2 Corinthians 6:3-6

“Kindness goes beyond duty — it means doing something you don’t have to do, but just choose to do. Kindness goes beyond reward — it means doing something you won’t get paid to do. In fact, real kindness usually costs something and doesn’t expect any reward. You do what is kind for its own sake and for the sake of the other person. In that sense, kindness is its own reward.

In the Bible, kindness is often linked with generosity. In fact, the word Paul uses often had that sense: kindness could often mean generously providing for another person’s benefit. That’s biblical kindness…

We need to remember that kindness is a part of the fruit of the Spirit precisely because it doesn’t come naturally (even though it’s true that some people seem to be just more naturally kind than others). But the sort of kindness Paul is talking about is not “natural” but “spiritual,” in the sense that it comes from being filled with God’s Spirit. Such kindness is fruit (it grows because of the life of the Spirit within us), but it also has to be cultivated. It has to become a habit that builds into our character.”

Christopher J.H. Wright in Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit: Growing in Christlikeness (Downers Grove: IVP, 2017) 84.

Even as the Apostle Paul applied himself to navigate away from difficulties, he and those ministering with him devoted themselves to kindness and trusted the Holy Spirit to produce this fruit in them despite the circumstances.

What about you? Is God putting you through the crucible? Often stretching times are the times we fail to reflect kindness toward others. These are the times we must apply ourselves to kindness so that it’s part of our character all the time.

As kindness is often equated or coupled with generosity, this means that not just in good times of plenty, but in hard times, we aim at kindness and generosity so our lives serve as conduits of God’s love and blessing regardless of the circumstances. That’s biblical kindness!

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