The fruit of the spirit is described as appearing in our lives like apples appear in an orchard. As the tree matures the fruit appears. Warm weather, sunshine, rain, wind, storms… All these things are required to produce apples on the branches.
…what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
Kindness is better understood as compassion from the heart.
Compassion. Our world seems to have less and less compassion for each other. It’s all about me; is all too common.
Last Sunday morning my husband was serving in the Prayer Room at our church. It’s a group who pray for during the service. Just before they began a lady came to join them for the first time and she was upset. She had a couple of ‘reasons’ to justify her frustration.
One. She had come the week before and because there was not a sign directing her to the Prayer Room, she couldn’t find it and ended up giving up and just going into church.
Two. She was back again this week with a friend in tow and together they had toured the entire upstairs before finally finding someone who could walk them to the Prayer Room. She was frustrated and was making her feelings heard. Even with her friend they couldn’t find the hidden upper room!
Just as she got seated, church began and the team began praying for hearts of the congregation to be open and for people to accept salvation. Near the close of the service most of the prayer team left to go down and minister at the alter. My husband stayed behind in the prayer room to give a kind word to the frustrated lady who was now very quiet. She had seemed uncomfortable the entire time and had not prayed out loud. (Thats’ what they do in the Prayer Room – pray.) As she began her rehearsed speech again, a kind word from my husband seemed to turn her heart. He shared with her that they were happy that she had found then and had joined the prayer team. He also conveyed that they wanted her to come back. After she shared some of her reservations, he explained that she could feel free to pace while she prayed or continue to sit, or take any posture that she was comfortable with; praying out loud or remaining silently. He said her whole countenance seemed to change with just a few kind words. She softened her posture and even began smiling as she began sharing her past church stories. Within minutes, her frustration had changed to joy….all because of a few kind words.
Let’s be honest—we rarely take the time to enter into someone else’s troubles. It costs time and energy to truly and deeply care for others. Yet we all long to know someone authentically cares for us.
It comes from an inward change that is facilitated by God’s love. The influence of God’s love produces a shift in our attention, moving us from ‘it’s all about me’ to giving a kind word to others. Through God’s Word, we learn what it means to deny ourselves for the sake of another person. Like the apples appearing in the orchard, kindness appears in our heart as we mature in our Christ centered life.