While peace is one of the fruits of the Spirit that we crave for ourselves—patience, kindness, and goodness—has to do with our treatment of others. The order of this listing implies that kindness is the next step we are to take after we have practiced patience when wronged. I know my natural response when someone has hurt me is to react and decide, “Well, you’re off my list! I don’t have to put up with that kind of treatment! I’ll just withhold my love from you.” But moments like these are precisely when you and I need to have spiritual victory and be kind instead. This supernatural act requires God, the Holy Spirit, ﬁlling us with His kindness.
Right now I want to challenge you to choose your number one problem person and take him or her before the Lord in prayer. I also want you to take before God your pain, your harsh thoughts, your temptations to respond in an unchristian manner, and your confessions of times when you’ve given in to those thoughts or temptations. Acknowledge your unkindness as well as any times when you withheld kindness.
Then go a step further and ask God to help you show His kindness to the very person who hurt you, who caused your pain, who is causing you to suffer, and who is making your life miserable. While you are suffering long and waiting patiently under ill-treatment, be kind. For love suffers patiently and is kind (1 Corinthians 13:4).
A friend once gave me a little calendar so that each day I can ﬂip a page over and read an encouraging statement. Well, one day I a message about kindness struck me as I read, “Kindness is the ability to love people more than they deserve.” Can we do that, dear friend? God says we can—and His Spirit helps us. So…
Pray for your enemies, those people who mistreat and use you (Luke 6:28). You will ﬁnd you cannot hate a person you are praying for. You also can’t neglect that person. Try it! You’ll ﬁnd these statements to be true because prayer and hatred don’t go together. Neither do prayer and neglect.
Spend time with God so that you may own up to any ill will you have toward an individual or group of people.
Study Jesus’ life for more examples of kindness and then follow in His steps. Keep a journal of those instances of His kindness as you discover them, noting the circumstances surrounding His graciousness.
Ask for God’s help in demonstrating the Spirit’s kindness to those people. Ask God to help you become known more as a comforter and less as a confronter. Pray for God to ﬁll your heart with His compassion as you walk each day and every step along the way with Him.
A Prayer to Pray:
Jesus, You were so humble and willing to serve. I want to follow your example of kindness. Keep me from being caught up in wanting to be in charge of everything. Help me look for places to serve and uplift others.
Find more encouragement to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, A Woman Who Reflects the Heart of Jesus by Elizabeth George.