22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. (NIV)
Here are the topical notes:
God's loyal love and favor toward His people. In the Old Testament, the word translated as "kindness" or "lovingkindness" refers to God's long-suffering love-His determination to keep His promises to His chosen people in spite of their sin and rebellion (Deut 7:12; Hos 2:14-23). This attribute of God was shown through His divine mercy and forgiveness toward sinners when payment of sins through the sacrificial system was no longer effective (Deut 22:22; Ps 51:1).
In the New Testament, the Greek word translated as "grace" best represents the idea of God's kindness or lovingkindness. Because God has been gracious toward believers, they should treat all people with kindness or grace (Luke 6:35). All people are created in God's image and should be treated accordingly, no matter how badly they have twisted and deformed that image (James 3:9). Kindness is not an apathetic response to sin, but a deliberate act to bring the sinner back to God (Hos 2:14-23; Rom 2:4). (Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
KINDNESS and Loving-Kindness (Heb. hesed, "desire, zeal"). Zeal toward another in a good sense: (1) Of men, as shown in doing mutual favors, benefits (Gen 21:23; 2 Sam 10:2); compassion for the afflicted (Job 6:14; "pity," KJV). The formula to "show kindness" is frequent in Scripture (2 Sam 3:8; 9:1,7), and in 2 Sam 9:3 there is the expression "to whom I may show the kindness of God," i.e., "like that of God," or "for the sake of God." (2) Of God toward men, as shown in mercies, benefits, and so on (Ps 31:21; 107:43; 117:1; etc.). Kindness is also the rendering of the Grk. chrestotes, "moral goodness," and so "benignity" (Rom 2:4; Gal 5:22; 2 Cor 6:6; Eph 2:7; Col 3:12). (The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright © 1988.)
Father, just as you have been kind to us, help us to be kind to others in order to mirror You to them. Let our kindness not be determined by how we are treated, but based on the fact that You love everyone and desire them to be with You. Those who don’t know You don’t care what we know until they first know we care. Being kind, especially when not warranted, will point directly to You. Help us to overlook offenses and show your loving kindness to those who don’t know You as their loving and kind Father.
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