This week's fruit is kindness.
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?
Romans 2 shows a negative connection between judgment and kindness. So I thought we could focus on that this week. Kindness to me is being thoughtful, doing something nice for somebody whether a person deserves it or not. The Bible has a lot to say about not judging others and I personally am grateful for all those verses. Judging is something that I struggle with and I blogged about it before during Self-righteousness vs God's righteousness. Romans 2:4 always jumps out at me when I read it, “Did you not know that God's kindness leads you to repentance?” If you are anything like me, when you see a problem in someone else's life you want to get up in their face and help them extract it; right now! The last thing that comes to our mind is the idea of being kind to them right where they are at. Yet how is God with us? We think we have it all together especially when we are comparing ourselves to others, but slowly, kindly, and patiently God pulls back the layers in us and reveals to us another sliver. At that point in time, we can receive God's kindness, repent and allow Him to remove the sliver, or we can yank back and run away with the sliver still intact and the pain of having it exposed. We need to recognize the power of kindness to bring positive change.
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the LORD will reward you.
As usual, God asks us to treat people in a manner that is opposite of our natural reaction. God asks us to be kind to others whether they deserve it or not. Our job is not to worry about how they will respond to our kindness; whether they will react positively or negatively to it. What we do know is that God will operate through the pathway of kindness not judgment.
If you struggle with this concept the easiest place to start learning about it is by looking at your own life and how God treats you. When you recognize His kindness and mercy to you, it will begin to soften your heart and allow you to look at others through His eyes of kindness. So there is lots to do this week with the Spirit! Reflect on God's kindness towards you and begin to offer the fruit of His kindness to others.
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