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KINDNESS AND GENEROSITY ARE SIGNS OF LIFE — Fruit of the Spirit — Part 5

Bondad y Generosidad Son Señales de la Vivacidad — Fruto del Espíritu — Parte 5

by

Mary Hunt Webb

Posted Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A photographic image of a businessman pouring hot tea.

Kindness involves being concerned for the needs of others. [Photographer: 2happy. Photo courtesy of Stockvault.net.]

When someone is considerate and thoughtful toward us, we say that person demonstrates kindness. Most of us recognize kindness when we see it, but if we were asked to define it, we might have difficulty putting its nature into words.

Recalling the acts of kindness that I have seen over the years, I remembered that they involved showing others compassion, consideration, courtesy, emotional support, empathy, helpfulness, honesty, generosity and respect. Although the Apostle Paul doesn't mention the word "kindness" in Philippians 2:3-4, he addressed how to apply it when he wrote, "3) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4) not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others." (New International Version)

Kindness is the fifth indicator of the presence of the Holy Spirit in one's life that the Apostle Paul mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. He wrote, "22) By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23) gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things." (New Living Translation)

Like the other fruits of the Spirit, kindness is directed toward others. It takes the emphasis off of self and focuses awareness on the needs of others. Kindness ignores fear and boldly reaches out to meet those needs.

A photographic image of two women sharing an umbrella.

The pole in the middle of the umbrella means that the person carrying it can only benefit from half of its protection. That leaves the other half to be shared with another person. [Photographer: 2happy. Photo courtesy of Stockvault.net.]

A kind person doesn't care what others might think of his or her actions to assist someone in need, but goes ahead and acts anyway. Action is a key ingredient because kindness cannot be idle. It must do something to ease the discomfort of another human being. Kindness must smile, say "Hello", give a compliment, offer a necessity, send a greeting card, or extend a helping hand. Without thoughtful action directed toward another person, there is no kindness.

These same characteristics are also true of generosity, the sixth in Paul's list of the fruit of the Spirit. Although I tried to address kindness alone in this posting and tried to save generosity for next time, I couldn't. Generosity is as much a part of kindness as kindness is of generosity. A generous person can't be unkind while a kind person can't be stingy. A kind person gives abundantly of his time, ability, and, yes, even of his resources.

Proverbs 11:24-25 tells us that "24) One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25) A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed." (New International Version)

That last portion of Proverbs 11:25 tells us that giving to others brings vitality to those of us that give. Essentially, giving is living. Those that refuse to share and give are speeding up the process of dying. People that rob and take from others are only robbing themselves of life.

When the actor, Dick Powell, first began to get to know June Allison, who later became his wife, he asked her what her philosophy of life was. She replied, "If you see someone without a smile, give him yours."

The best part of June Allison's philosophy is that when you give a smile, you usually receive one in return. The same is true with a hug. When you give a hug, you get one back. That is true of most kind acts. You get as much or more as you give away.

A photographic image of a woman hugging a girl.

A smile and a hug leap across language barriers. [Photographer: S. V. Klimkin. Photo courtesy of Stockvault.net.]

Although our family was financially poor when I was growing up and my mother worked full-time, she was still generous with her time and with what little we had. I distinctly remember going with her one evening after dinner and after she had worked all day when she went to the home of a woman with polio. That woman was my Brownie Scout leader and was also the mother of one of my classmates. Mother had heard that my Brownie leader was in such pain that she could not rest so we walked four blocks to her home so that Mother could massage her. No, Mother was not a massage therapist, but she did have a big heart. Mother massaged my Brownie leader until she fell asleep. Mother gave from the little that she had. In doing so, she set a powerful example for me to give and to keep on giving as long as the Holy Spirit lives in me.

In Philippians 2:1-2, the Apostle Paul tells us, 1) Your life in Christ makes you strong, and his love comforts you. You have fellowship with the Spirit, and you have kindness and compassion for one another. 2) I urge you, then, to make me completely happy by having the same thoughts, sharing the same love, and being one in soul and mind." (Good News Translation)

Against such things, there is no law.

BiBLE VERSES FOR THiS POSTiNG

Philippians 2:3-4 — 3) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4) not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. (New International Version)

Filipsenses 2:3-4 — 3) Nada hagáis por contienda o por vanagloria; antes bien con humildad, estimando cada uno a los demás como superiores a él mismo; 4) no mirando cada uno por lo suyo propio, sino cada cual también por lo de los otros.

Galatians 5:22-23 — 22) By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23) gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. (New Living Translation)

Gálatas 5:22-23 — 22) Mas el fruto del Espíritu es amor, gozo, paz, paciencia, benignidad, bondad, fe, 23) mansedumbre, templanza; contra tales cosas no hay ley. (Reina-Valera 1960)

Proverbs 11:24-25 — 24) One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed." (New International Version)

Proverbios 11:24-25 — 24) Hay quienes reparten, y les es añadido más; Y hay quienes retienen más de lo que es justo, pero vienen a pobreza. 25) El alma generosa será prosperada; Y el que saciare, él también será saciado.

Philippians 2:1-2 — "1) Your life in Christ makes you strong, and his love comforts you. You have fellowship with the Spirit, and you have kindness and compassion for one another. 2) I urge you, then, to make me completely happy by having the same thoughts, sharing the same love, and being one in soul and mind." (Good News Translation)

Filipenses 2:1-2 — 1) Por tanto, si hay alguna consolación en Cristo, si algún consuelo de amor, si alguna comunión del Espíritu, si algún afecto entrañable, si alguna misericordia, 2) completad mi gozo, sintiendo lo mismo, teniendo el mismo amor, unánimes, sintiendo una misma cosa. (Reina-Valera 1960)

A photographic image of two girls making popcorn.

Even something as simple as a shared bowl of popcorn demonstrates kindness and generosity while bringing smiles. [Photographer: Ian L. Photo courtesy of Stockvault.net.]

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