Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Fruits of the Spirit
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 5:22-24)
Very often the word “kind” is equated with “nice”, but that does little justice to what the word meant in Greek when Paul wrote Galatians. The word he used - chrēstótēs - primarily means behaving in an upright manner with people. It’s not misleading them, or deceiving them. For Paul, the word “kindness” means being open and honest, and not hiding uncomfortable truths. This is the truly helpful and beneficial thing to do.
In an age where offence is taken quickly, there is a growing temptation to think that the kind thing is simply not to cause offence. If you see the dangers in the path someone is taking, is it really kind to ignore the issue? If someone asks you a direct question, it might be easier to fudge the answer but is that kind? Misleading people might be the easier path, but is that kind to others?
Of course, this is not to say that you have to act with an offensive manner, and seek to hurt people. There are ways of saying things! Rather, the kindness that Paul has in mind is a courageous kindness which seeks the good of others, even if it is awkward for you. It is not simply being nice, but seeking to act in another’s interest.
That is kindness. It is not passive, it is an active kind of love.