Fruit of the Spirit – Kindness

Kindness 1

Being kind is not being nice. Actually as I studied on this I was dismayed not to see “nice” in the definition of “kind” So they aren’t the same thing?

Kind means 1. of a good or benevolent nature or disposition; 2. having, showing or proceeding from benevolence; 3. indulgent, considerate, or helpful; humane; 4. mild, gentle; 5. loving; affectionate.  Kindness is the act or the state of being kind, being marked by good and charitable behavior, pleasant disposition, and concern for others.

Nice is 1. pleasing, agreeable; delightful; 2. amiably pleasant; kind; 3. characterized by, showing or requiring great accuracy, precision, skill, tact,care of delicacy; 4. showing or indicating very small differences; minutely accurate.

So what’s the difference between the two?

When you are nice, you are trying to please others so you feel good about you.  When you are nice it’s away to get others to like us.  When you are nice, you bend over backwards to oblige. When you are nice you are might do too much for others, who may take advantage of you or mistreat you.  When you are nice, you are taking care of others hoping that they will, in turn, take care of you.  When you are nice, you are very careful not to rock the boat, not to offend anyone.  When you are nice, you are focusing on being good to others and forgetting that you have needs too.  When you are being nice, you keep your feelings and needs inside, you feel unworthy of them.  When you are nice, there is pain and frustration which grows into anger even though you try to push those feelings down they continue to simmer.

I know a lot about this nice thing…  I know about the frustration, the resentment, the anger.  I know  I repressed feelings that should have been expressed.  I know  I turned to things to comfort me, things to ease the pain of being nice.  I know about the emotional pay-off I was hoping to receive by being nice to others.  I know how I was unwilling to face the hurt or pain when the pay-off didn’t come.  I know how even though I took care of others, no one took care of me.  I know now I never validated myself.

Until that night. That night God took me away from myself.  That night God put me to my knees.

“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. …”  Ezekiel 37:1-28 ESV

That night God told me I was more.  ” Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”  1 Peter 1:3

God gave me confidence in Him “For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” Proverbs 3:26

Kindness takes bravery, it’s saying “I am confident and comfortable with myself.”  Yet kindness leaves us vulnerable because kindness is doing what you know to be right and good which might not be what others believe to be true for you.  Kindness leaves you wide open to mockery for your beliefs and who you are becoming.

Kindness means you begin to assert yourself and begin to set limits and boundaries with others.  Kindness means you love yourself and as much as you care about others, you know you deserve to be treated with respect.  Kindness means you begin to take responsibility for your own self-care.

As I began to be happy, I became kind, I didn’t need to please others but to be generous and loving from my heart.  As I became kind, my heart opened more. As I became kind to others, I didn’t try to smooth things over.  As I became kind, I learned to say no when something wasn’t right for me.  As I became kind, I learned not to take the easy route, the path of least resistance.

I learned kindness is genuinely caring for my self and others.  Kindness is wanting the best for myself and others.  I learned kindness takes less effort because I’m no longer thinking about someone “liking” me.

Life is better when you are kind… just saying!