Kindness and Gentleness
This week was the fifth sermon in the Lenten series Peeled, where we are exploring the fruits of the Spirit outlined in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. In this series we are peeling back the fruits of our own lives to see if they are sweet or sour, and we are discovering how we can develop, through the Holy Spirit, good fruit for the kingdom of God. This Sunday we discussed two fruits that are interrelated- kindness and gentleness. Kindness is a familiar word that is talked about a lot in our society, and yet, this familiar word has the power to effect major change in our world when put into practice.
Kindness is the quality of being friendly and doing good to other people. Kindness is different than niceness, for nice is a cheap imitation of kindness that does not risk speaking the truth in love. Jesus was not nice, but Jesus was kind. Gentleness is the quality of being kind and mild-mannered. Gentleness looks a lot like kindness, and sometimes we can confuse gentleness with weakness. Yet, gentleness does not mean being weak. Jesus did not fight back and showed gentleness throughout the Passion narrative, and he was anything but weak. Stories throughout scripture show how kindness and gentleness are intended to be characteristics of Christians. In 2 Kings 6, the King of Israel shows kindness to the army of Aram by feeding them instead of fighting them. Mother Teresa had a gentle spirit, yet she could be firm when necessary. In God’s essence, God is kind and gentle. Jesus is the most perfect image of kindness and gentleness. Jesus was particularly kind to the least, the lost, and the lonely people in society. When we choose to be kind and gentle, we imitate God. Choosing kindness and gentleness towards others is out of a loving response of God’s kindness and gentleness towards us, not based on whether or not we “feel” like it or if people are kind back to us. We all have these fruits through the Holy Spirit, we just have to put them to use.
When we choose kindness and gentleness with others, we do not know the impact that can have on the world. One small act of kindness has the capacity to change the world. Kindness is contagious- it can send ripple effects throughout our entire world, like dropping a small pebble in a pond. Through choosing kindness and gentleness, with the help of the Holy Spirit, let’s make ripples in our world this week.
Monday- Ephesians 4:15-5:2
Tuesday- 2 Kings 6:8-23
Wednesday- John 8:1-11
Thursday- Micah 6:6-8
Friday- Matthew 6:13-15
Questions to Consider or Discuss:
1. When you think of the word “kindness” what images come to mind for you?
2. How has God been kind and gentle to you?
3. How is God calling you to show kindness and gentleness this week?