Living in the Fruit of the Spirit: October

“Be ye kind one to another,” (Eph. 4:32, KJV) was the first Bible verse that either I learned in Sunday School or which stuck with me the longest. Maybe it was because Mother used the word kind a lot with me when I was grown up. I wasn’t the kindest kid on the block. Stubborn and strong willed with strong opinions, I became unkind at the drop of a hat. Granny used the word sweet to appeal to my better nature for the same reason. “Be sweet,” “act as sweet as you look.” I have no idea how many times she quoted the nursery rhyme: “There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good, she was very very good; and when she was bad she was horrid” Eventually, I got the message.
Today I believe being kind is among Paul’s most important requests because of its scope. His full message to the Ephesians is, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you,” [in some versions you is translated as us] (NRSVue).

We see that the meaning of the word kind is much broader than being nice. While Paul expands the word to include being tenderhearted and forgiving, other biblical writers speak of kindness as gracefulness, forbearance, love, compassion, generosity, humbleness, and respectfulness, in addition to being hospitable, uplifting, tolerant, and charitable. Moreover, the Greek word Paul used for kind implies that kindness is an attitude rather than an action.

As we contemplate kindness this month, let’s expand our awareness of how its many meanings and our attitude of them impact our daily interactions with ourselves and others. Let’s ask God to help us bring more kindness into our hearts and world. Amen.

Karen Kaigler-Walker

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