Fruit of the Spirit: KINDNESS.

Galatians 5:22-23 - "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, KINDNESS, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." Against such things that is no law."

When I think of the word 'kind' I immediately think 'kids'.  Not because kids are kind all the time, Lord knows that couldn't be further from the truth.  No, I think it's because its the one thing that's harped on most in early childhood development.  I remember being told to be kind all the time, and now that I'm a parent, I'm the broken record reminding my kids to "be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, in Christ Jesus, has forgive you." - Ephesians mother's favorite verse to quote when my siblings and I would be be in a spat over this or that.  This tagline is as memorized as the Pledge of Allegiance...tattooed on my heart from before I can remember.

If you really think about it, kindness is probably one of first things you learn as a child because it's fundamental to functional relationships whether you're in the church nursery, McDonald's Playland, or preschool...things will not go well for you if you're not kind.

To be kind is to first care, then share.  I remember saying to my daughters all the time..."Life is about caring and sharing."  In order to 'get along' you have to live the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  Plain and simple.  Would you want to be treated like that?  Then don't treat them that way.  Would you like someone to say that to you?  Then don't say that to them.  On and on it goes...the golden rule has never been one-upped.

Kindness is also about justice.  Children know without being taught when something isn't fair.  They can feel and tell when things just aren't equal or even...when someone is being taken advantage of or treated wrongly.  It's actually hard for them to 'let it go' whether injustice is being done to them or someone around them because, well, it's not kind.

I cringe to break down the word further, but it's really what we often mean when we are talking about being "nice".  When someone isn't nice, we can't bide the idea that they could get away with it.  Again, this is almost understood innately.

I love that the Spirit of God prompts simple courtesy.  Some would say good manners.  A person who is indwelt by the Spirit is polite when others are rude, civil when others are mean, and respectful when many chose to be unfriendly.  Again, none of these words I'm using would go over a child's head...ok, well, maybe civil.  But honestly, what are we saying to kids all the time...

"Be friendly to her."
"Don't be mean, Aly."
"That was rude; you apologize right now."
"Mind your manners, Tay."
"Remember to be polite to our guests tonight."
"Show your mother respect when she's talking to you."
"I don't care if they are naughty, I want you to treat them nice."
"Kami, share your toys or I'll drop them off at Goodwill tomorrow."

Kindness is the milk of all characteristics.  Before we cut our teeth we are being fed this fruit Gerber-style.  Before we can handle the meaty ideas of faithfulness or self-control, we are bottle-fed the concept of kindness.  This virtue is established through example and exortation.  Those who learn it through 'show and tell' understand it best.  It is caught more than taught and households that model it basically mold it into their kid's character.

These are the most altrustic souls.  They are the ones who you want to be around and be like.  They make people feel special all because they are 'kind".

I often wonder if in our pursuit of the depths we are missing the heights.  The heights of simple sweetness.  My daughters will often say of a person who is kindhearted, "They are so sweet."  They notice a person's good will right off the bat.

It seems no one wants to be labeled nice or sweet anymore.  It's almost seen as an insult.  To be kind is to be gullible or naive.  When a person is really kind it almost seems to be seen as a dangerous form of innocence (ignorance) like they must have been too sheltered growing up.  To be kind is considered careless these days, not cautious enough, overly trusting.  A sucker and a suck-up all in one.

It's sad, really.  Our world is starving for kindness, salt of the earth souls that don't care about the pushback or payback, they just like to like things and no one can stop them.  It's amost like being kind is a reward all its least that's what it looks like to me.

All I know is when I'm kind, I'm most content, most complete.  Kind should be the new cool.


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