Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things there is no law.”
I cannot think of a greater example of Jesus’ kindness than what was told during the events of His arrest. While He was being arrested, Peter cut off one of the high priest’s servant’s ears in furious anger. Jesus yelled, “Stop! No more of this,” and healed the servant’s ear (Luke 22:51; John 18:10). Whenever I read this, I am always in awe at the lovingkindness of Jesus. Here He is, being arrested, guilty of literally nothing, and He heals a fatal wound of whom one of His companions attacked in an effort to protect Him, and He still lets Himself get arrested! Jesus could’ve commanded an army of angels at that moment and while He was on the cross, but He didn’t because it was more important to Him to complete His work—to save mankind from sin, so “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
The greatest form of kindness is mercy, which is exactly what Jesus showed during His arrest, and even more so when He died on the cross for our sins. Mercy is showing kindness even when you’re angry or offended and are facing injustice, especially when the opposing party deserves retribution. Now, we all deserve retribution, but Jesus showed the ultimate kindness and mercy for us when He died for our sins, reconciling us to God. Likewise, we are to reconcile ourselves with others. Kindness does not need a reason to be shown. If you spend time trying to think of a reason to be merciful to someone, you will find that you’ll never show any mercy. Mercy is undeserving. Of all people, we Christians should know this because through God’s mercy He gave His only begotten Son to die for our sins. The word “kind” does not even suit this sort of action, but mercy, its epitome.
We can show kindness in many ways. We have the perfect guideline for showing Christlike kindness. “…and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously…” (1 Peter 2:23). When people criticise you in angrily insulting ways, do not revile in return. I’m certainly guilty of this, even when people just simply annoy me. But we’re not called to be like the rest of the world. One of my favourite proverbs is, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you” (Proverbs 25:21-22). Basically, just do the opposite thing of what your enemies would do to you—or the opposite of your natural, sinful reaction. The best revenge is kindness. Not passive-aggressive kindness, but true kindness. This finds favour with God and we can entrust ourselves in knowing that God will judge our enemies righteously, for vengeance belongs to Him (Romans 12:19; cf. Deuteronomy 32:35).
Stay tuned for next time when I discuss the next fruit of the Spirit: goodness.