Has someone ever said hurtful things about you behind your back? Have you ever been left out of a group of friends... and felt like it was on purpose? Have you experienced a relationship where your personal feelings didn’t seem to matter to the other person? How do situations like these make you feel? When someone hurts or offends us, it's easy to respond by hurting or offending them back. But our responses to conflict are opportunities to spread kindness, a foundational aspect of Christ-like love.
The Bible says that during Jesus’ time on earth, He endured many hardships and trials. He knows how we feel in difficult times because he is no stranger to suffering. When Jesus was faced with unkindness, he responded with humility and love, exhibiting true kindness even in the hardest situations.
Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
If we are followers of Jesus, we should strive to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit each and every day. How can you actively show kindness to others in your life?
One way is to forgive. Jesus not only showed kindness to those who hurt him, but he also intentionally forgave each of them. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” God mercifully forgives us of our sins, and we are called to also forgive the people who wrong us.
Another way to exhibit kindness is by living out the I’m Third principle. At Kanakuk, we aim to live an I’m Third lifestyle, which means we strive to put God first, others second and ourselves last. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.” Kindness is foundational to the I’m Third lifestyle. Being kind is not always human nature. Rather, it’s a choice, just like living out the I’m Third principle. Choosing to live the I’m Third way is also choosing to show kindness to those around you.
Ultimately, when you show kindness to someone you are reflecting the love of Christ. People are always watching your actions, and someone who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus can see Christians showing kindness and desire to know why. Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit that is easy for people to notice in this harsh world. By choosing to live in a counter-cultural way like Jesus commands, you create an opportunity to lead a friend or neighbor to Christ! We challenge you to strive to show kindness to someone every single day. Will you take the challenge?