“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”(Galatians 5:22-23 NASB)
“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,”(Titus 3:4-5 NASB)
There is a passage in Proverbs that says, ”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) I love that because I can almost guarantee that everyone has someone in mind that needs that load upon their noggin. Part of living in a fallen world means existing with fallen people. And part of living with fallen people means getting hurt or offended.
Whether you tend to get angry or irritated or sad when you are hurt by other people, the Holy Spirit produces fruit that replaces dead fleshly desires. Being patient and kind towards someone who is rude and irrational seems counterintuitive and yet it’s that kindness that God can use to lead someone to repentance (Romans 2:4). Joshua Straub calls kindness “an unnatural act that comes supernaturally through the Holy Spirit.” But an act of kindness without the patience behind it can be just a good deed. And patience without kindness can be a cold idling. Patience and kindness must go hand in hand. So the next time someone does or says something rude to you, kindly give them a big ol’ helping of fruit (of the Spirit).
Surely you’ve done something kind or patient recently… But what motivated that? Was it because they have been a good friend to you and you wanted to show them your appreciation? Was it because you were feeling a mood of charity and generosity? Were you just bored? Was it the Holy Spirit in you that prompted you? Take a few moments today and consider how you show kindness and patience to others. How might God develop kindness and patience in you to make you more like Jesus (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18)?
Lord, help me to know true kindness. Open my eyes to see more of Your kindness and patience at work around me. Help me to feel the gravity of Your kindness and patience towards me so that I might more truly reflect Your kindness and patience to others. Help me to clothe myself in kindness and patience. In Jesus’ name I pray; amen.