Question: "The Fruit of the Holy Spirit – What is kindness?"
Answer: Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit of the Spirit—the resulting character of someone who is allowing the Holy Spirit to develop maturity in his or her life. The fifth characteristic, kindness, is called “gentleness” in the KJV.
The Greek word for “kindness” is chrēstotēs. It means “benignity, tender concern, uprightness.” It is kindness of heart and kindness of act.
Kindness is the characteristic that led God to provide salvation for us (Titus 3:4-5; Romans 2:4; 11:22). Kindness leads God to give us green pastures, quiet waters, and the restoration of our souls when we're weary (Psalm 23:2-3). It is God's tender care that makes Him want to gather us under His wings, to protect us and keep us close to Him (Psalm 17:8; 36:7; 61:4; Matthew 23:37). God expressed kindness when He provided for Elijah and the widow of Zarephath during a drought—and He showed more kindness later when He raised the widow's only son from the dead (1 Kings 17:8-24). When Sarah exiled Hagar and Ishmael, God gave the outcasts kindness in the form of water and hope (Genesis 21:9-21). On multiple occasions, kindness induced Jesus to stop what He was doing and help others in need (Mark 6:34; Mark 7:29; Mark 10:46-52). And kindness leads the Good Shepherd to rescue us when we stray (Luke 15:3-7). In kindness He “gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young” (Isaiah 40:11).
When we exhibit the kindness of God, we are tender, benevolent, and useful to others. Every action, every word will have the flavor of grace in it. To maintain this attitude toward those we love is hard enough. To express kindness toward those who are against us requires the work of God (2 Corinthians 6:4-6). That is why kindness is a fruit of the Spirit.
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