What is the main quality that draws you to someone and causes you to want to spend time with him or her?
Most people would answer this: kindness.
People are drawn to kindness because it makes them feel loved, accepted, safe and welcome, which is a rare thing to find in this world. In fact, kindness is so powerful, it can soften angry hearts and even turn an enemy into a friend.
But where does kindness come from? In her latest book, Walking in the Fruit of the Spirit, Gloria Copeland shares about the fruit of kindness and how it comes from the fruit of goodness. The two are inseparable. You flow in kindness when you are operating in the goodness of God.
Kindness is the most attractive quality in a Christian and the main way to draw people to Christ—simply by living out His goodness and kindness in your everyday life. Before we look at some practical ways these fruit shine through in our lives, let’s take a moment to differentiate between the fruit of kindness and the fruit of goodness.
Kindness vs. Goodness
The fruit of kindness and the fruit of goodness are so closely connected, they’re best understood when examined together. Most Bible scholars agree they’re interdependent, and while kindness is mentioned first in Galatians 5:22, in studying and meditating on the Scriptures, it is clear that goodness is the foundation for kindness because the Bible describes goodness as a state of being. It says that God is Good. Goodness isn’t just something He has, it’s who He is.
Goodness is compassion, benevolence and generosity. Kindness flows through that state of being with action. God’s goodness within us is what causes us to be kind. Goodness produces kindness as its result.
With that in mind, let’s examine what kindness looks like in everyday life and why it is the most attractive quality in a Christian.
Kindness Is Seen in the Way You Talk To Others
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs.” –Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
There was a time when people would never say the kinds of harsh and critical things that are now commonplace on TV, movies and social media. Even unbelievers knew it was indecent, at best, to outright curse people in authority and speak of them openly in hateful ways.
Sadly, these days, even ordinary people who are just living their lives and doing the best they know how to do are criticized and ridiculed in very public ways.
That’s why kindness is a very attractive quality in a person. It will draw people to you like a magnet. When you are kind in the way you speak to people, you’re giving them a taste of the goodness of God. You’re showing them who He is and that His heart toward them is good, loving and safe.
One of the primary ways kindness manifests is in the way we talk to others. This includes the way we speak to friends, family, co-workers, store clerks, pastors, strangers on social media and especially to those who are unkind to us (when the average Joe will just strike back).
Knowing that you attract people to God when you show the fruit of kindness in the way you talk to others, ask yourself this: Can people count on you to be positive and encouraging when they talk to you? Or do they expect negativity and words of criticism?
We all have to work at being kind, but ultimately, we are all held responsible for every word we speak (Matthew 12:36). Here’s a quick self-check to see the condition of the fruit of kindness on your tree:
- Are you respectful, loving and encouraging to your spouse, or are you always pointing out their faults?
- Do you discipline your children with love and encouragement, or are you harsh and critical?
- Do you respect your grown children, or do you pout or make them feel guilty if they don’t do what you want them to?
- Are you a kind and encouraging in-law?
- If you’re a boss or leader, do you lead by building relationships and expressing appreciation to your team, or do you lead by intimidation and threats?
- Here’s the biggest test of all: If asked, would every person in your life describe you as kind?
These questions certainly aren’t meant to condemn any of us. We all need work! And without doing a self-check in certain areas, we won’t be able to grow, mature and develop into the kind of people who are pleasing to God, attracting unbelievers to Him, and living a blessed life!
Now, more than ever, this world needs the softening influence Christians have to offer. People need to see what the love of God looks like and how it can change their lives. They need for us to be kind when most of the world is harsh.
Bottom line? We, as Christians, should always strive to talk to others in a way that builds them up and encourages them, not criticizes or tears down.
Kindness Is Seen in the Way You Treat Others
“A kindhearted woman gains respect…. [and] a kind man benefits himself.” –Proverbs 11:16-17 (NIV-84)
Think for a moment…who is the kindest person you know?
Now, what made you think of this particular person?
Most likely, this person shows a loving spirit through acts of kindness on a consistent basis. That’s exactly what the Church is supposed to be doing with the love of God today. We should be walking in love and blessing people at every opportunity. We should be doing good and making it easier for people to know that God is Good and He is Love.
It’s hard for people to have confidence in God when they see Christians behaving rudely or selfishly. They look at us and think, If that’s Christianity, I’m not interested. When we’re kind and helpful, on the other hand, it is a witness of Christ’s love—a light shining in a dark world. It is kindness that attracts people to us and to Jesus who is inside us.
Kindness isn’t an invitation to church or letting people know how they ought to be living. It is God’s love expressed through the goodness and kindness of His people that attracts them to Jesus.
When unbelievers see us being tender and benevolent, they realize there’s something different about us, and they’re likely to be interested when we tell them about the Lord. Romans 2:4 says the goodness, and in some translations “the kindness,” of God leads men to turn away from sin and toward Him.
So, let’s get practical. What are some of the ways we can show kindness to others?
- Pay attention to the feelings and needs of those around us, then try to meet those needs.
- Look for ways to encourage and lift others up.
- Lend a helping hand even when it isn’t requested.
- Compliment people authentically.
- Be patient and polite in every situation.
- Show consideration for others’ time and resources.
- Refrain from gossip, judgment and anger.
That’s what Jesus did during His time on the earth. He blessed people by meeting their needs—feeding them, healing them and encouraging them. Then, He was able to share the gospel with them, and those who were willing to hear were also primed to receive.
The most attractive quality a Christian can have is kindness. As you move into the coming weeks, take some time to develop the fruit of goodness and kindness in your life. Pray and ask God to help you in this area. Read and study the scriptures, meditate on them, and declare them over your life. Clothe yourself with kindness (Colossians 3:12). Then, practice, practice, practice. Your kindness and goodness might be the reason many will enter into the kingdom of God!
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