Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV) “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.“
Recently, I began writing a series of blogs as a result of reflecting on the 20th anniversary of my dad’s death. In the first one, I placed a list of 10 things I want to teach my girls. At the bottom of this post are links connecting you with the previous posts.
So much of life is about getting what you think you need, and neglecting or being mean to others to get it. Other people are not your enemies. They may not have the knowledge or love of Jesus that I pray you have. They may not know about being intentional and majoring in what matter most. Be Kind. Often, that goes a long way.
This is something that my dad and grandpa taught and demonstrated for me… My earliest memories of my dad are of his laughing and joking and having a good time with others. He would use his quick wit and smile to make sure others knew they were cared for. He was kind to everyone he came into contact with. This doesn’t mean you are soft and pushed over by others. Kindness has taken on a meaning of being soft and that’s not always the case. Being kind, at its core, means caring for others. Although most of the memories I have of my dad are memories others have told me, there are a few things that I remember firsthand. One of those firsthand memories is a phrase my dad would say to me. He would say “You know what I would do if I didn’t like you?… Nothing.” Those that my dad liked, he talked to… he joked with… he used his quick wit against… but it was not done in a way that put the person down. It was done in a way that made everyone feel like it’s okay that we are not all okay. No one is perfect here – let down your guard and be kind. That is a rare quality to find in someone and it only comes when you genuinely care for others and are kind in how you say things.
My grandpa was the same way. To my knowledge, I never saw him get upset – or at least I do not remember it. He was a man who cared for others and was kind to all. As I think back on times where he was kind to me, so many memories flood back. He took us to Silver Dollar City one year when he was living in Missouri. We all went on the rides, but Grandpa sat down under the tent where various groups and acts performed. He was there all day. Didn’t ride a ride – just sat in enjoyment knowing that his grandkids were off having fun. When I was little, I would visit Grandpa in the summer. I would get to stay for a week or so. One time, my cousin, Austin, and I decided we would sell rocks out front. We went and picked out the créme de la créme of rocks. I mean, these babies were beautiful. However, for some reason, business was slow in the rock selling business. Turns out, people really only want gravel in bulk, they don’t care about the finer higher-quality gravel. Except for Grandpa, who came home from an errand and bought some rocks from us. This is after we had been running all over the house and backyard where my Grandpa had a beautiful garden growing. There is no telling the damage I caused to that garden. I was never told and he never got upset. I heard stories of Grandpa handing out fifty-cent pieces for years at the parade, calling football games on the radio, and many other things. All involving him being kind.
Since I have started this series of blog posts, I have heard from many people regarding my dad and grandpa. The one thing that is constant: their kindness left impression and made impacts that have outlasted both of them. Be Kind. It leaves a different type of impression. It’s rare. It’s comforting. It’s hard. It’s worth it.
I used the Fruit of the Spirit verse from Galatians at the top of this post for a reason. Addi and Bryn, at the moment I am typing this, neither of you are believers in Jesus. I pray daily you will be saved. One of the things I want to point out to you about salvation is that the Holy Spirit matures you over time and makes you more and more like Jesus. The Fruit of the Spirit is, then, parts of our lives that mature and grow to look more like Jesus. It is not a mistake that kindness is a Fruit of the Spirit. However, there’s a misunderstanding that happens pretty often: It is not “Fruits” of the Spirit – it is “Fruit” of the Spirit. It’s singular… Meaning that there are not multiple fruits hanging from the tree growing at different rates and shapes. Each tree produces the fruit that the tree can produce. Apples don’t grow on pear trees. Oranges do not grow on banana trees. So, the fruit listed in Galatians is an all or nothing type of fruit. If you find yourself growing in joy, but not patience, there is an issue. If you grow in love, but not gentleness, something is wrong. If you grow in peace, but not kindness, this should be a red flag to point you. There may be blind-spots in your faith and in your heart.
Be kind, girls. Care about others. Leave a lasting imprint. As a Christian, when I am kind to someone, they notice it. When they ask why or say thanks, notice that the Lord is opening a door for you to tell them about the Gospel of Jesus, Remember that by molding you more and more into His image, the Spirit is maturing you…And that they can have that too.
Introduction to series blog –
Lessons from a Dad –
Jesus is Better Than You Can Ever Imagine
The Local Church is VITAL
Know What Matters Most
Give Your Best, Always
Be a Little Better Tomorrow
Blog posts without Ira Baptist Church updates can be found at https://moorewordsfromben.wordpress.com/