The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
He who pursues righteousness and kindness will find life and honor.
Today we begin a discussion on the fifth Fruit of the Spirit, kindness. While love and self-control take time to grow, kindness, in my opinion, is the Fruit that is most easily grown and in the least amount of time.
Society has made a big deal about “random” acts of “kindness,” like paying for someone’s coffee in a drive-thru. I’m not sure whether this kind of random act classifies as kindness or as just nice. Because kindness is a Christian virtue, acts of kindness should be “intentional” to those around you, whether in your family or in your school or church.
There are an endless number of small acts of kindness:
1. A sincere greeting
2. Words of encouragement
3. Validating someone’s feelings
4. Lending someone a shoulder to cry on
5. Offering a sympathetic ear
6. A word of thanks
And many more. . .
When I think of what is “unkind,” I think of those situations when these basic things are missing. Being ignored. Words of discouragement. Putting down someone for their feelings. Walking away from someone who needs help. Talking instead of listening. A word of criticism.
Small intentional acts of kindness would go a long way to building up people, improving human relationships, to healing the anger that is present in society.
Kindness honors our personhood. Kindness dictates that even criticism can be delivered with compassion, safeguarding the dignity of our humanity. We’ve all been victim to circumstances where we’ve walked away thinking, “if only someone could have extended a little kindness. . .”
Acts of kindness are great ways to show gratitude for God’s blessings to us. Because God blesses us so freely, we should offer acts of kindness to others freely as well.
Lord, thank You for all of Your blessings. Help me show gratitude for Your blessings through intentional works of kindness towards others I meet today, whether I know them or not. Help me to see every opportunity to show compassion and kindness today. Amen.
Look for opportunities to do intentional acts of kindness today!
Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website!
Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
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