The Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

The Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

The Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness.

“The fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23.

“Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. We know that truth lives within us because we demonstrate love in action.” (1 John 3:18, TPT)


(a.) Definition: Generous and considerate actions for the welfare and happiness of others in need; simple acts of compassion to bless others; practical helpfulness that meets a need; the love that manifests itself through acts of service and good deeds; unselfish acts of benevolence; tender-hearted concern for another.

(b.) The Fruit is Love. The “fruit” of the Spirit in Galatians 5 is stated in the singular, not the plural “fruits.” This implies that the first virtue mentioned, Love, is the primary, unifying quality of the Holy Spirit’s work in one’s character. All the remaining virtues are important aspects of Love. Fruit is meant to be useful. Wax fruit are not to be used in any way except appearance. Real fruit is used in every way possible. So perhaps Love is indeed the fruit of the Spirit, and the other qualities listed are Love’s useful qualities: smell, flavor, color, texture, shape, size, nutrition, ripeness. It’s not hard to believe that St. Paul’s fruit of the Spirit includes such qualities as loving-joy, loving-peace, loving-patience, loving-kindness, loving-faithfulness, loving-gentleness, and loving self-control. Speaking of kindness in particular, St. Paul mentions this aspect of love clearly in 1 Corinthians 13:4, “Love is kind.”

(c.) The Aramaic version of Galatians 5 has the word “sweetness” in the place of “kindness.” Perhaps kindness is love’s sweet flavor, compassion’s sweet aroma, and mercy when it is ripe for the taking. Because kindness is sweet-natured, it tends to  be unassuming. Kindness is not flashy, doesn’t attract attention, doesn’t put someone’s name in lights. Kindness leans toward simple and basic service, and so is often overlooked by others looking on. In reality, kindness makes the world go ’round, even though it so often goes under the radar. Kindness tends to be unspectacular and underrated in society, and the kind person is fine with that. Sweet kindness is its own reward.

(d.) Kindness is the practical, useful aspect of Love. Love can be abstract, but it comes down to earth through acts of kindness. Love motivates the heart to feel compassion, and it moves the will to do kindness. All these aspects of Love overlap and it is somewhat difficult to distinguish between love, mercy, compassion, and kindness. One could say generally that compassion feels for the suffering of another, and is in solidarity with that sufferer. And kindness is not focused so much on the feeling aspect as with the doing. Kindness aims to meet a need in a practical, meaningful, and personal way. Kindness seeks to actively flesh out love in order to contribute to the happiness of another.

(e.) A Word from Peter and Paul.

“Make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge; and knowledge with self-control; and self-control with patient endurance; and patient endurance with godliness; and godliness with brotherly kindness; and brotherly kindness with love for everyone.” (2 Peter 1:5-7).

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievance you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:12-13).

“Lay aside bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity, and insults. But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love.” (Ephesians 4:31-32, TPT).


(a.) Where does kindness come from? What is its source? After reading the Gospels, one distinct impression would be that Jesus was extremely, unquestionably kind-hearted. Jesus dripped with kindness wherever He went, healing, touching, listening. And it’s clear that if Jesus is kind, then His Father is kind. Like Father, like Son. What does kindness look like? Look at Jesus. And then consider this… “Jesus is the divine portrait, the true likeness of the invisible God; possesses the fullness of all the divine attributes; the exact expression of God’s nature; Jesus expresses the very character of God.” (Colossians 1:15 and Hebrews 1:3, different translations). Jesus merely fleshed out what is in the heart of the Father. God’s character is dramatically confirmed in the centerpiece of the Hebrew BibleExodus 34:5-7: “The Lord passed before Moses on Mt. Sinai and proclaimed His name: ‘The Lord! the Lord! a God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness, extending kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin…” (Tanakh, JPS). Here we see in God’s self-revelation that He included kindness in His very name. Kindness is God’s middle name! The essence of the Father is a heart of kindness. And so it is with the Son. God is the source of kindness.

(b.) Excerpt from Jewish Morning Service: “Let us this day, as on all others, find grace, favor and mercy in thine eyes, as in the eyes of all who see us; and requite us with acts of loving kindness. Blessed art thou, O Eternal, who bestoweth loving kindness upon his people Israel… O give thanks unto the Eternal, for he is ever kind, for his mercy endureth for ever. Thou, O Eternal, wilt not withhold thy compassion: thy kindness and truth shall ever preserve me. Remember thy mercy and kindness, O Eternal, for they exist from everlasting. Suffer us, O Eternal, to behold thy loving kindness and grant us thy salvation. As for me, I do confide in thy mercy, my heart delighteth in thy salvation. I will sing unto the Eternal, for he hast manifested loving kindness unto me.”

(c.) The Spirit of kindness flows from God the Father, through Jesus the Son,and is intended to flow right into the heart of the believer. The spiritual momentum of kindness is undeniable… God’s nature, to Christ’s nature, to the believer’s nature. If one wants to develop divine kindness in one’s character, one needs to be in direct union with the Father and Son through the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 can only be produced supernaturally as a spiritual grace in the life of a believer. Any kindness in this world has its origin in the Creator. If there is any hope of genuine, consistent, heavenly kindness, its source has to be found in the person of God. Because of the Holy Spirit, there is a direct line between God’s nature and the believer’s second nature.

(d.) The “milk of human kindness” (MacBeth, Shakespeare), is found often enough in a wide variety of people. It is accepted as a virtue by everyone reasonable. Because of common grace, God has provided everyone with the capacity to show kindness. The source of the kindness is still God, no matter who is displaying the kindness. We can thank God that He has given the human race that ability. Humanity would not survive without the common grace of kindness. In the case of the believer, kindness is not merely a core value, but becomes a natural impulse, an enduring aspect of one’s personality, instead of a deliberate decision. Through the Holy Spirit, kindness becomes second nature.

(e.) An important aspect of love,  a divinely useful fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life, is kindness. “Always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).