Kindness – Fruit of the Spirit
There are three main Greek words for kindness (chrestotes, chrestos, and philadelphia):
- NT:5544 chrestotes (khray-stot’-ace); from NT:5543
It is defined as usefulness, i.e. moral excellence (in character or demeanor). Translated in the KJV as gentleness, good (-ness), kindness.
- NT:5543; chrestos is derived from NT:5530 chraomai (khrah’-om-ahee).
Chrestos is defined as: employed, i.e. (by implication) useful (in manner or morals): KJV – better, easy, good (-ness), gracious, kind.
Kindness is such an excellent quality to possess, because it means you are qualified and worthy of being employed for moral excellence and manners. This quality is very useful for life. It will open doors and take you a lot of places.
- NT:5360 philadelphia (fil-ad-el-fee’-ah); from NT:5361; fraternal affection: KJV – brotherly love (kindness), love of the brethren.
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.
Kindness is goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others, benevolence, affability. The word describes the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing your patience. The Holy Spirit removes abrasive qualities from the character of one under His control.
Greek Scholar Rick Renner has noted that when the word chrestotes is applied to interpersonal relationships, it conveys the idea of being adaptable to others. Rather than harshly require everyone else to adapt to his own needs and desires, when chrestotes is working in a believer, he seeks to become adaptable to the needs of those who are around him. (Sparkling Gems from the Greek, Rick Renner)
Kindness is associated with love, goodness, mercy, graciousness, gentleness, usefulness, thoughtfulness and being sensitive to the needs and feelings of others around you.
The opposite of kindness is cruelty, meanness, rudeness, sharpness, abuse, harshness, brutality, malice, spitefulness, vindictiveness, mercilessness, viciousness, ruthlessness and callousness. All of these negative traits are works of the flesh, and are wicked in God’s sight.
Kindness is a spiritual law (Proverbs 31:26).
The law of kindness is on the tongue of the virtuous person. Kindness involves not only your actions, but the words that come out of your mouth, and the tone of voice used. Kindness is very careful in what you say and how you say it, so as to not purposely offend or hurt someone else, or stir up wrath.
Kindness is associated with wisdom, because it takes wisdom to know the right words to speak in season to those who are weary and need encouragement.
One of the traits the virtuous woman is known for is her wisdom, as well as the law of kindness coming from her lips.
Love is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4). Love is the highest law. One of the marks of walking in the love of God is by the kindness you show to others.
To walk in love is to also dwell in light and have life. The opposite is true if you do not walk in love. The result will be dwelling in darkness and death of some type. When there is a lack of kindness demonstrated in a relationship, it brings death to the relationship.
To be kind to others is to be helpful.
Kindness is involved with benevolence and charity for humanity. Kind-hearted people are very generous with their finances and resources to help mankind.
Kindness is linked to compassion and sympathy.
Kindness is thoughtfulness.
Kindness is showing consideration and courtesy. Kindness is showing regard for others.
Kindness is necessary for showing diplomacy.
Kindness is demonstrating good manners and being polite.
Kindness is showing patience.
Kindness knows how to manage anger and direct it in the right way, so as to not say damaging things to others in a fit of rage.
Kind people know how to build others up. They live by the three E’s: Edify others, Esteem others, and Encourage others.
Kind people are also sweet people.
Kind people show respect to others, as well as reverence the Lord.
Kind individuals demonstrate a spirit of humility.
Kind people are more soft-hearted.
To show kindness to someone else is to show favor. It is especially noble of a kind person to show favor to an inferior, by stooping down to help raise him or her up.
The Lord is known, in Nehemiah 9:17, as a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and who forsakes not.
Psalms 117:2a says, “For His merciful kindness is great toward us.”
Isaiah 54:8 says that God’s kindness and mercy is everlasting.
Isaiah 54:10 says, “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
Colossians 3:12-15 states: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
Titus 3:4-7 says, “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Ephesians 4:29-32 says, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
2 Peter 1:5-10 lists the nine Graces of the Holy Spirit:
- Brotherly kindness
2 Peter 1:8-10 “For if these things (9 Graces of the Holy Spirit) are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.” NKJV
You can be kind to someone without having to agree on everything.
Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant (kind) words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” NKJV
Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft (kind) answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
To display kindness to others is to show them honor.
Kindness means to follow the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Matthew 7:12).
Kindness means to treat others the way God has treated you. He has shown you mercy and kindness your whole life.
If you want to have good relationships, then cultivate kindness in your life.
Joy is linked with the fruit of kindness. When kindness is demonstrated in relationships, it brings joy to the relationship. Also, when you’ve done a kind deed, the joy of the Lord fills your soul.
Proverbs 20:28 describes qualities God wants in a leader: “Mercy and truth preserve the king, and by lovingkindness he upholds his throne.”
Kindness is based on the mind-set described in Philippians 2:3-4: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Kindness is humbly giving of ourselves in love and mercy to others who may not be able to give anything back, who sometimes don’t deserve it, and who frequently don’t thank us for it.
Kindness means a way of thinking that leads to doing thoughtful deeds for others.
Kindness when speaking to others means to be soft-spoken rather than harsh.
Proverbs 19:22a states: “What is desired in a man is kindness.” Why? Why would God consider this trait so important? It is because God knows that if we follow His ways of being and doing things, then happiness, joy and true fulfillment will come to our lives. God wants us to become like Him.
Kindness is not selfish, but is sacrificial in helping others.
Some examples of kindness include: giving people compliments (not flattery) and meaning it with your heart; open doors for someone; smile; say hello; help carry something for someone; mowing someone’s lawn who is ill or elderly; sit and talk with people who do not want to be alone; cook someone dinner; giving to a person in need; changing someone’s flat tire.
An act of kindness lifts people’s burdens.
Dr. Barry Corey says this of kindness: “It’s the natural outcome of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. We exhale kindness after we inhale what’s been breathed into us by the Spirit.”
Worldly niceness glosses over sin, but the kindness of God leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).
People have seasons in their lives when they are facing battles and they need individuals in their life who will be kind, good and gentle to them.
Plant seeds of kindness and you will reap a spiritual harvest of blessings.
Kindness is contagious. Be a carrier, and spread kindness everywhere you go.
No matter how small or big the act of kindness may be, it makes a HUGE difference in the person or people who received your act of kindness, in the environment you live, your workplace, and every place you are involved.
Don’t take for granted the everyday blessings from God. For example, your health, your children, your pets, your job, your home, a sunny clear day, beautiful flowers, good cuisine, money in the bank, your salvation (which is the most important thing) and other kindnesses from God.
Kindness is associated with the wisdom that is from above, which is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits (James 3:17).
Joseph is a great example of kindness, goodness, and reconciliation. It was in his power to take revenge on his brothers, but goodness and kindness won out.
Kind words proceed from a pure and good heart. Jesus received the tongue of the learned from His Father so He could refresh the weary with His Word (Isaiah 50:4). Such tongues are in great demand for helping and comforting. Kind words are precious.
King David said that God’s gentleness (kindness) has made him great (Psalms 18:35).
Kindness is the characteristic that led God to provide salvation for all of mankind—that’s 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, 7:29, 10:46-52).
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 kind action, and every kind word will have the flavor of grace in it.
Kindness has the power to soften hearts.
It’s especially important for kindness to be accompanied by goodness. That’s because kindness without goodness can become tolerant of sin — just as goodness without kindness can be harsh and legalistic. We show the fruit of the Spirit only as we develop these qualities together.
Boaz is an example of a person who showed tremendous kindness to both Ruth and Naomi. He married Ruth and redeemed her out of poverty and childlessness, and he provided for Naomi for the rest of her life.
The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 was a very kind person who displayed compassion. He also used his own resources to help the person.
The quality of kindness will go hand in hand with the quality of love. Once the Holy Spirit starts to transmit His love into you, the quality of kindness will follow right along with it. It will then become much easier for you to be able to be kind to others once the love of God starts to flow more into your personality.
You cannot help but be more kind to others if God’s love is flowing through you. This is why the quality of love has to be the main quality that you really concentrate on getting more of from the Holy Spirit. Once the love of God starts to flow and operate through you to touch others, many of the other fruits of the Holy Spirit will then start to follow right after it in domino fashion.
In 2 Samuel 9:7, David said to Mephibosheth, “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.” David and Jonathan were best friends, and Jonathan was killed in battle along with King Saul. When David became king, he sought out to show kindness to Jonathan’s offspring.
This world is full of harshness. This world is full of unkindness. When people experience a kind gesture, they are refreshed by it, and they are recharged by it. Philemon 7 says, “For I have derived great joy and comfort and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints [who are your fellow Christians] have been cheered and refreshed through you, [my] brother” (AMP). Philemon showered the brethren with kindness and, by so doing, he had a refreshing and a restoring effect.
Kindness is compassion in action.
Kindness is a sincere desire for the happiness of others; goodness is the activity calculated to advance that happiness. Kindness is the inner disposition, created by the Holy Spirit, that causes us to be sensitive to the needs of others, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. Goodness is kindness in action—words and deeds.
Kindness is gentle and mild, and not harsh.
God’s kindness draws us toward Him. His love, care, and grace makes us want to be around Him more. And when we’re around Him more, we will understand our need for Him.
As we allow the Holy Spirit to grow more of His kindness and goodness in our lives, we will draw others to want to know this kind and gracious God.
We imitate God’s kindness by loving our enemies. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (Luke 6:35). Our kindness reflects the heart of our Father. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Plato
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are endless. Mother Teresa
Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Mark Twain
You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness could cause misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate. Albert Schweitzer
You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Father of Kirk H. Neely
Kind people have no guile in their heart, or ulterior motives. They have a pure heart, and the Bible promises that the pure in heart shall see God (Matthew 5:8).
Are your words kind (gentle), or do they have a sharpness?
In kindness, there is no slander.
Kindness is a matter of building up, not tearing down others.
Kindness has a ripple effect. When one person is kind, kindness tends to pass forward to others.
Being kind to others is one way we express our devotion to Christ. In Matthew 25, in the parable of the Last Judgment, Jesus said that we are to give to those who are hungry, to those who are thirsty, to those who are strangers, to those who are naked, to those who are sick, to those who are in prison. Then he adds, “As much as you did it unto the least of these, My brethren, you did it unto Me” (Matthew 25:40).
Perhaps the greatest expression of our kindness is being willing to forgive others.
When we are kind to our enemies, it is like heaping burning coals on their head (Romans 12:20).
Kindness has pure intentions.
Kindness is given freely.
Kindness leaves a lasting legacy.