Attributes of the Spirit-filled Life: Kindness
All Christians have received the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is by the Spirit that we are regenerated—by being birthed into the family of God. Upon that birth, the Spirit takes up residence in our life—indwelling us and becoming the earnest of our inheritance. With his indwelling the Spirit gives us spiritual gifts for the work of ministry and the building up of the Body of Christ. Also with the coming of the Holy Spirit into each believer’s life comes the Fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These fruit are part of the Spirit’s sanctifying work in you life as He works to conform you into the image of Jesus Christ. He does that by creating in you a new heart and a new mind that are dominated by the same attributes that dominated our Lord’s character: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
So far, we’ve looked at Love, Joy, Peace, and Longsuffering. This evening I want to preach on the attribute of kindness. It is considered to be one of the Seven Virtues, sometimes referred to as the Seven Contrary Virtues—because they stand as opposites of the seven deadly sins. Kindness is considered the direct opposite to envy.
Kindness comes in all kinds of forms and expressions. Kindness is as simple as a smile. Kindness is as simple as a thank you to the waitress or to someone who does a kind deed for you. Kindness is an encouraging word to someone who is in need of encouragement. Kindness is an expression of appreciation or affirmation to the people around you. Kindness is stopping and giving a helping hand to a person in need. Kindness is a word of recognition to a small child. Kindness is a sympathetic ear, that listens to a person who is hurting or in pain. These are simple acts of kindness.
I. WHY SHOULD WE BE KIND?
- kindness is defined as the act or the state of being marked by good and charitable behavior, pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions (Wikipedia)
- ILLUS. The Jewish Talmud, which is the Rabbinical commentary on the Torah, claims that "deeds of kindness are equal in weight to all the commandments." In Buddhism, kindness is one of the Ten Perfections—disciplines that lead to spiritual awakening. Muhammad, writing in the Koran, says, "Allah is kind and He loves Kindness".
A. WE SHOULD BE KIND BECAUSE GOD IS KIND TO US
- God has been so incredibly kind to us
- God shows His kindness to us through what we call common grace
- “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” (Acts 14:17, NIV84)
- the fact that we have a roof over our head, food in our stomach, cloths on our back, a steady income, friends and family, and a general sense of well-being all come from the kindness of God
- “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:4–5, NIV84)
- the extraordinary sacrifice and commitment that God has shown us—out of His kindness and mercy—sets us free from the bondage of sin and death
- "made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:5-7, NIV)
- why should we be kind?
B. WE SHOULD BE KIND BECAUSE WE WANT PEOPLE TO BE KIND TO US
- the second reason sounds a little selfish, but we should be kind because we want people to be kind to us
- Jesus said, "...do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Matt. 7:10)
- we call it the Golden Rule
- if you want others to treat you with kindness, then you treat them with kindness
- /“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12, NIV84)
- “Love is patient, love is kind. ...” (1 Corinthians 13:4, NIV84)
- ILLUS. Have you wondered why people always seem to be rude to you, always treating you in a snotty kind of way? Perhaps it is not their problem. Perhaps it's you. It may be that people are snotty to you because that's the way you are treating people in life. If kindness begets kindness, then snottyness begets snottyness.
- if you treat a person with rudeness, they will probably respond with rudeness
- but if you treat a person with kindness, they will often respond in like manner
- why should we be kind?
C. WE SHOULD BE KIND BECAUSE KINDNESS DEMONSTRATES WE BELONG TO CHRIST
- "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)
- ILLUS. William Penn, the founder of the Colony of Pennsylvania wrote: “I expect to pass through life but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.”
- the third reason of why it is important that we be kind is that kindness demonstrates that we belong to Christ
- one of the ways we witness to the world that we are followers of Jesus Christ is when we are kind to people around us—both the saved and the lost
- ILLUS. On Friday of this week, we will deliver presents for five families this congregation adopted for Christmas. We have classes that save up all year for this. These are acts of kindness the demonstrate that we belong to Christ.
- this is a testimony that God is alive and working in your life
- one of the ways we express kindness according to Eph 4:32 is by forgiving others when the mistreat us rather than retaliating against them
II. HOW DO WE YOU CULTIVATE KINDNESS IN OUR LIVES?
- one of the great illustrations of kindness in the Bible is the story of David and Mephibosheth found in 2 Samuel 9:1-12
- he was five years old when his father and grandfather fell in the Battle of Mount Gilboa fighting the Philistines
- hearing of this calamity, Mephibosheth’s nurse fled with him fearing that the Philistines would seek to take the boy’s life, too
- she dropped him while they fled, and he became disabled
- he was carried to the land of Gilead, where he found refuge in the house of Machir
- some years later, when King David had subdued all the adversaries of Israel, he remembered the family of Jonathan, and discovered that Mephibosheth was residing in the house of Machir
- he sent royal messengers there, and brought Mephibosheth and his infant son Micah to Jerusalem, where they resided from that point on
- there are several things that this passage teaches us about kindness
A. A KIND PERSON IS SENSITIVE TO OTHERS 2 Samuel 9:1-4
- a kind person is a sensitive person who is aware of the needs of the people around them, not just themselves
- a kind person is a person who is attuned to the people around them
- I think one of the big reasons why we are not kind, is because we are so often self- focused
- we are mostly concerned about me, myself and I, my plans, where I am going, my desires, my goals, my hurt, my pain
- those are the things that occupy our attention and focus much of the time
- the result is we don't even have the ability to see the hurt of somebody else because we are so focused on ourselves
- the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:4, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."
- we are to have the same attitude that Christ had
- Christ did not come to be served but came to give his life away, to serve others
- notice in that verse that we are to be actively looking for ways to serve others
- a kind person is one who is looking for the needs and the hurts of the people around them
- ILLUS. Think about this: Every person that you will meet throughout this week, whether a family member, someone on the job, somebody just in passing, every person that you will have contact with this week is a person in need and they need kindness. Everyone of us have hurts, struggles, pain, and difficulties. We all need kindness. We all need someone that will smile. Someone that will share an encouraging word. Someone that will be appreciative. Someone that will listen to our problems. We all need that. Every single person you will encounter this coming week needs kindness. It is an opportunity for you to notice their need and begin to meet that need by being kind.
B. A KIND PERSON IS SUPPORTIVE OF OTHERS 2 Samuel 9:5-7
- a kind person is one who builds people up rather than tears people down
- one of the ways we do that is by our words and deeds
- our words have an incredible impact on other people
- “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29, NIV84)
- ILLUS. You all know the nursery rhyme "sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me"? It’s a lie. I don't know where that rhyme came from, but it’s a lie. We can recover very quickly from sticks and stone but we do not recover very quickly from names or verbal assaults.
- words have an incredible way of building up or tearing us down
- a kind person is one who is very careful of the words that come out of their mouth
- a kind person speaks words that build and encourage rather than tear down or discourage
- ILLUS. Let me ask you a question this evening: “If God were to give you a dollar for every kind word you speak and if he were to take away a dollar for every unkind word you speak, would you be a rich or a poor person?”
- how do we respond to them?
- that is the real test
- we cannot manufacture that kind of kindness
- to be kind to someone who has been unkind to us is a true test of kindness
- ILLUS. This is what separates Christianity from most other world religions. Recently a British newspaper publisher was asked why western media is so disparaging of Christianity, but not Islam. His answer was refreshingly honest. “Christians,” he said have broad shoulders. “When you disparage them, they forgive and respond in kindness. When you disparage Muslims, however, they pick up an AK47!”
C. A KIND PERSON IS SYMPATHETIC 2 Samuel 9:8-10
- if you want to be kind, learn to be sympathetic
- learn to have compassion for the needs of the people around you
- David paints a portrait of a sympathetic person in this passage
- he remembers his friendship with Jonathan and wants to do something to help any of his decedents
- when he finds that Mephibosheth is alive and crippled he brings him and his son into the palace
- He ministered because of his kindness
- He was sympathetic—He had compassion upon Mephibosheth
D. A KIND PERSON IS KIND FOR THE LONG HAUL 2 Samuel 9:11-13
- sometimes our kindness is for a season only
- we find ourselves being kind at certain times
- we find ourselves being kind to certain people
- but in this passage, we see David being kind for the long haul
- kindness is being concerned about the other person's need, and the other person's life not merely for a season
- ILLUS. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche argued that kindness and love are the "most curative herbs and agents in human relationship".
How do you know when you’re living the Spirit-filled life. One of the evidences is when you live a life that is characterized by kindness. Kindness is to be a mark of our lives. It is a demonstration that we belong to Jesus, that we are a follower of Christ.
Let me encourage you to do something practical this evening during the invitation. Make a list of several people you can be kind to this week. Example: people you work with, people at home, people in your neighborhood, etc. Then write down how can you specifically be kind to that person. Then, sometime this week, find a way to show them kindness. Begin to become intentional about kindness. Don't just wait for the need to come and slap you in the face before you decide to be kind to somebody. Open your eyes, become intentional about demonstrating kindness to the people in your life and around you. Kindness is a great way of testifying and being a witness for Christ.