This guest post is by Jeffrey Kranz, who writes more Bible-study material at OverviewBible.com.
We’re going through the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22–23), a list of qualities the Holy Spirit produces in our lives. You can find plenty of books on the fruit of the Spirit, but in these posts I’m focusing on two things:
- What each fruit of the Spirit quality means
- A Bible character that sets a good example of that quality
Fruit of the Spirit: kindness
I think we all know what kindness is. It’s that quality of doing right by one another—that warm-heartedness softness we show to those we care about.
I love Dr. Zodhiates’ description of kindness: “It is the grace which pervades the whole nature, mellowing all which would be been harsh and austere.”1
Fun fact: the Greek for “kindness” in Galatians 5:22 is related to the Greek word for choice aged wine. As a good wine gets sweeter with time, so the Holy Spirit makes us softer, warmer, and kinder.
Example of kindness: Boaz
We already met Ruth (she’s my example of love). Boaz is the man she ends up marrying.
Boaz is a rich man who is impressed by Ruth’s character. He is abundantly kind to Ruth, and goes to great ends to make sure she gets all the food she needs:
- He has his employees harvest grain for her.
- He invites her to eat with his workers (instead of finding lunch for herself).
- He provides her with water.
- He protects her from those who would mistreat her (since she’s from another country).
And just so you know, Boaz isn’t just laying on the charm for the lady. He’s kind to his employees, too. The first words we hear from Boaz are a blessing to his employees: “May the Lord be with you” (Ru 2:4).
Boaz is generous and kind: a great example to us.
Fruit of the Spirit: goodness
Goodness is righteousness in action. Goodness boldly does what’s right, and encourages others to do good as well.
Example of goodness: Hezekiah
The king Hezekiah is an example of goodness. When he takes the throne in Judah, the temple of God is in disrepair, and idols are set up across the land.
So Hezekiah makes things right:
- He reinstates the priests of God (2 Ch 29:5).
- He brings people from all Israel to celebrate Passover (2 Ch 30:5).
- He removes the idols (2Ch 31:1).
The Bible says that Hezekiah “did what was good, right and true before the LORD his God,” and everything he did, “he did with all his heart and prospered” (2 Ch 31:20–21).
This is goodness: understanding what is right and making it happen.
A few thoughts on kindness and goodness
Looking at these biblical heroes challenges me:
- Am I becoming softer, warmer, and kinder? I really should be.
- When I know what is right, do I follow through and do it? It’s one thing to know what’s good and talk about what’s good, but it’s another to put it into effect.
Who are your examples?
Which Bible character (or Christian figure, for that matter) comes to mind for you when you think of goodness or kindness? I’d love to hear about it.
The next post finishes off the series with faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
1 Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).