The hot Texas sun was beaming down highlighting the green rows of cotton, corn and melon that lined the road. I was driving down U.S. 90 on my way to Uvalde, thinking of how I love seeing all the fruits and vegetables this part of the country produces.
My husband was a farmer for several years in the ’80s. and it is always interesting to hear his farming stories. He tells about the long hours each day he invested to produce a good crop, as well as some of the challenges.
There were years that he made good money, and then there was the year he was ready to harvest onions, and the night before the harvest, there was a hail storm that destroyed the entire crop.
Then there was the story about the beautiful bell peppers he grew in October that were plump and full of color. He woke up one morning, and much to his surprise, snow covered his crop, and he lost every bell pepper.
Growing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is not always easy, and takes a lot of hard work and practice. Oftentimes, it is in the difficult soil of life that we have the opportunity to plant the seeds and cultivate them.
Galatians 5:22 states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law.” (NIV)
Basically, this is saying when you practice these fruits, they will always work for you, not against you.
Practicing these always puts you in the winners circle and will benefit not only you, but others.
I have been studying about each fruit, to cultivate them in my own life and see what God says about each one and what He requires of me. Recently, I have been looking at kindness.
What is kindness? Who should we be kind to? What are the benefits of kindness?
Kindness is the quality of being considerate, friendly and generous, thoughtful and loving. Kindness considers where someone’s heart is and acts accordingly. It is also showing superior qualities of grace.
I think we would all have to admit, we like it and it makes us feel valued when others are kind to us, especially when we really do not deserve it.
I have asked God to open my eyes to His kindness in my life, and I am amazed at what I have discovered. Day after day, I have seen God’s kindness and it has caused me to have a deeper desire to be kind to others.
It has begun to change my heart and made me want to practice kindness to a greater degree on those around me.
Jesus tells us in Luke 6:35 that he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. It is easy to be kind to our friends, but a little more challenging to be kind when others are ungrateful and ugly to us. I think those are the people that need kindness the most.
I have to admit, God has given me the chance to practice kindness recently on some ungrateful and unkind individuals and it has taken every bit of Jesus in me to persevere! The good news is God has helped me and it is actually getting easier.
There was a situation I was involved in where I was doing a lot of work and had to make some decisions for others. Oftentimes, when we step up to the plate to make a difference and do what is right, there will be those who are insecure and oppose us. I encountered this, and the opposition was challenging. I was determined to practice kindness, because Jesus is kind.
It was not easy; however, over a course of months, the
kindness paid off, and I saw God work in the situation and totally change the heart of the person who was causing so much difficulty.
Proverbs 16:25 says, “Kind words cheer up an anxious man.”
Just today I was talking to a woman, and she was very fearful and anxious. As I spoke kind words to her in a soft voice, I saw her countenance change right before my eyes, and she left our meeting with a smile on her face. Her circumstances have not changed, but I watched kindness cheer her up.
I Thessalonians 5:15 states, “Make sure nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.” (NIV)
That about covers anyone you will encounter each and every day.
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 11:16 and 17, “A kind woman gains respect and a kind man benefits himself.”(NIV)
If you want respect, the answer is being kind. We win when we are kind and there is power in our kindness to change a situation. Kindness makes us a hero.
I still have much to learn about kindness and the rest of the fruit of the Spirit. I want to challenge you to join me and practice kindness in the days ahead. Sow good seeds of kindness to the difficult people in your life and all others around your home, workplace and community.
Ask God to open your eyes to how He is kind to you and let his kindness change your heart. I am now seeing his kindness each day in my life.
Most of all, enjoy the wonderful blessings and benefits that being kind will reap in your own life. You will not only bless others but will receive many blessings yourself.
Kathleen Maxwell-Rambie is a native of the Hill Country. She is passionate about helping others to discover their value and worth. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog at www.themaxwellminutes.blogspot.com.