Kindness refreshes the soul, unkindness poisons the spirit. How’s your Spirit? Is it sweet or sour? How’s your temper? Do you have a temper? Do you quickly respond to things around you with a sourness? Do situations like, heavy traffic, try your spirit? You know what I mean, when somebody does the wrong thing and you start steaming within? You’re wanting to honk your horn at those people and you can’t find it on the steering wheel? You nearly beat that steering wheel to death trying to find the horn. And things just fly off the handle quickly with you. Or how about, going to Walmart or Target. Maybe you are in a hurry and you grab two items. You go up to the check out and get in the line that says 10 items or less. You know that you’re not in the right spirit when you start counting the items in everybody’s basket that are in front of you. Sure enough there’s someone, they have 15! If they’re in this line they’re only supposed to have 10! And you’re thinking, I wonder if I could have them arrested for this.
Just that little wrong action of those people breaking the law simply drives your temper wild. Proverbs 14:17 says a quick tempered man acts foolishly. That’s the way it is. If there’s not a kind Spirit coming out of you, the opposite is going to be there–an unkind Spirit. A quick tempered person’s flesh riles up quickly and everybody around them knows it. There’s a way to be kind and there’s a way not to be kind. Kindness is not like this:
Not The Way!
Mark Twain said, “I didn’t attend the funeral but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” Twain made a kind statement, but the Spirit behind it is not kind. Many think kindness is simply being levelheaded, in control, and unemotional. “I’ll say the right thing but I’ll say anything I want to say”–that’s not a right spirit.
It is not a kind statement to say to a pastor, “I don’t care what people say I like your sermons.” Or how about this, “I don’t think you’re a fool but what’s my opinion compared to thousands of others?” That is not a kind statement.
Remember the modern philosopher, Rodney Dangerfield. He said, “I went to see my doctor and I said, ‘Doctor every morning when I get up and look in the mirror I feel like throwing up. What’s wrong with me?’ The doctor said, ‘ I don’t know but your eyesight’s perfect.”
Those are not kind statements. You can make statements to people that are not kind while attempting to hide it in an acceptable form. Has God ever expressed his kindness toward you? It is incredible how kind God is toward us. Is there any reason for Him to be kind to you? No, but He is kind and I am grateful that He is kind. William Wordsworth said, “The little unremembered acts of kindness and love are the best parts of a persons life.” Isn’t it amazing how a kind word can encourage you? If you are having a terrible day and then unexpectedly a person expresses their love or concern for you, they encourage you. Maybe they thank you for something that you have done; they express how you encouraged them and their family; they say I appreciate you so much; or a child says to a parent–mom, dad thank you for loving me, and by so doing your attitude becomes more positive. Words of kindness refresh the soul.
Genetics or Spirit?
Have you ever heard someone say, “I got this temper from my mom, or I got this from my dad?” No, you got it from your sinful nature. Your mom or dad do not cause you to be like you are they reveal what you are. Your marriage does not cause you to be what you are, your marriage reveals your spirit. Other people will say, “We have this bad temper that runs in our family.” Well that is true, if you are talking about the family of sin. A bad temper is not an expression of the fruit of the Spirit.
Can you imagine reading Galatians 5:22 like this, “…but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, and a bad temper?” No, because it does not fit with the rest of the list. A bad temper is something that comes out of your heart. Jesus said that what comes out of your mouth proceeds from your heart, not your mom or dad’s heart. Saying harsh things to people comes from within. Jesus said in Mark 7:23 that your background, your parents, and all this stuff around you doesn’t cause this. This comes from within. It reveals who you are.
Develop a kind spirit toward all people by learning more fully to walk in the Spirit of Christ.
***Adapted from the book, “The Christian Life: A Human Impossibility” by Kerry L. Skinner
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