“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
It is interesting that three out of the nine fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5:22-23 are very similar. The fifth in the list is gentleness (KJV; NIV & NASB, use “kindness”). The sixth in the list is goodness. The eighth is meekness (KJV; NIV & NASB use “gentleness”). These fruit I call fruit of compassion.
Do we see these characteristics around us, or the opposites?
The opposite of gentleness or kindness is abrasiveness or rudeness.
The opposite of goodness is meanness or heartless.
The opposite of meekness or gentleness is aggressiveness.
These opposites are what the world offers. (The fruit of the world are called “the deeds of the flesh” and are listed in Galatians 5:19-21.) I know some people that are great examples of gentleness, goodness and kindness. These people are refreshing to be around. But what about the Church as a whole? Do the believers in the Church act more gentle, good, and kind, or abrasive, mean, and aggressive? It seems that most believers act in a way that is opposite of God’s way.
Of course, there will be times when someone will have to correct someone or be firm in establishing boundaries. For instance, we should not allow someone to abuse us or abuse others. Allowing that kind of behavior is not being gentle or kind. That is codependency. Abuse requires serious emotional and spiritual help.
What I am encouraging is that we allow these fruit of the Spirit to dramatically expand in our lives. I think we should do something wild and go way over the edge and practice copious amounts of gentleness, goodness and kindness! It is amusing to think that when we act this way, many will think something is wrong with us! Unfortunately, it is because these characteristics are rare in our times. Let’s profusely practice gentleness, kindness, goodness, and compassion and see what God does in us and through us!