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Cultivating Kindness- A 7-Day Bible Study

As I hurried out of the mall to my car the other day, I noticed an older woman standing on the curb.

As I passed her, another woman walked past her too, but she stopped and asked, “Are you okay? Do you need some help?”

At that moment, I stopped to hear the elderly lady’s reply. I didn’t want to be rude. Maybe she did need help. I had just assumed someone was coming to get her. Maybe both of us could help.

She shook her head, “I’m waiting on my daughter. I’m fine.”

I smiled at the sweet lady who had paused to inquire of need, and our eyes met. There was no doubt in my mind that she knew Jesus.

Walking on to my car, my heart filled with gratitude for the kindness of the woman who stopped and asked if help was needed.

I love where I live. I thought.

People really can be kind to one another. 

But honestly, and sadly, kindness isn’t always what comes naturally to us–in our me-first, fast-paced culture. It’s not always what comes out of me!

 

How to Cultivate Kindness

My experience that day made me sit back and think how we can cultivate such kindness, and the first thing that came to mind was to slow down.

  • Slow. Down. I was walking so quickly to my car that day, I assumed there was no need to ask the older woman if she needed assistance. Kindness takes time. Maybe that is why the Fruit of the Spirit that comes before kindness is patience. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (addition mine). In order to slow down, we may need to leave margin in our schedule to have time for kindness. Leave 15 minutes early. 

My mind was so focused on my agenda, I wasn’t seeing anyone else’s need around me.

  • Be aware. Kindness is a mindset. We need to be on the lookout of who might need our kindness. My daughter taught me a lesson in this too. (I’m learning a lot about kindness!) We had just finished half our pizza on our vacation a  few weeks ago, and she carried the boxed half as we walked to the car. Only a few yards away from our ride a homeless man walked by. He’d been scrounging through the trash. Lauren looked over at me and smiled. She picked up her pace to meet him and offered our left-overs. “It’s a miracle!” He said, thanking her profusely. We didn’t need that half of pizza. My friends, it feels so good to be kind. Keep your eyes open for “kindness opportunities” everyday. My daughter demonstrated it to her mama, but as young moms and dads, and grandparents, we have so many opportunities show our kids and grandkids what kindness looks like.

Though we assume the Fruit of the Spirit will gently flow out of us, we must partner with the Lord to walk with such power and influence. The Fruits of the Spirit are powerful. They are influential to those receiving the kindness and those near it. 

 

  • Spend time with Jesus first. Jesus never missed an opportunity to be kind. The disciples spent every waking hour with him watching his every move, listening to his responses. He touched the untouchables, reached out to the broken, and fed the hungry. The job of the talmidim (or disciples) was to become like the rabbi. The people we spend time with affect our actions- and reactions. Though Jesus is not here with us in the flesh, we can discover his ways by studying his word, spending time in prayer, and worshiping him. He has not left us without his Spirit. He is here. Start your day in the word, even if it’s just five minutes with the printable I’ve made of this Bible reading plan and study on kindness. 

 

Sneak Peek of Bible Study on Kindness:

The questions are a little deeper than other Bite of Bread reading plans and require some digging. Trying something new. Let me know what you think. Leave a comment on my post or on my Andy Lee (Author) FB page. 😊

Hebrews 13:2: Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
• Is hospitality something you enjoy, or is it something you shy away from? It’s true that some of us are Martha’s and love to entertain, but does this verse command only those with the gift to be hospitable? What is the blessing for showing such kindness? May I release you right now from the thought of needing a perfect house and gourmet food when you have company? Order a pizza and make brownies, pick up a little, and clean the guest bathroom. I promise, they don’t care. They are just blessed to be invited over. Who will you invite within the next 2 weeks to your home?

Micah 6:8: He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly[a] with your God.

  • The word “mercy” has been translated from Chesed which means covenantal, merciful acts of loving-kindness. Re-rewrite the verse with this definition in the place of “mercy.” What makes chesed different from mercy?

Proverbs 3:3 : Never tire of loyalty and kindness. Hold these virtues tightly. Write them deep within your heart. (TLB)

  • Can you guess what the Hebrew word is for kindness in this verse? Yep, it’s Chesed. How is God’s kindness different from the world’s?

Luke 6:35: But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

  • What is the hardest aspect of this verse? Why must we do it?

Ephesians 4:32: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

  • The word “kind” was translated from Chrestos. This word involves a softening, a mellowing of sorts. This kindness may take prayer. It may take time and asking for God’s supernatural grace to help you find the compassion and softening to forgive someone who hurt you or worse, someone you love. If you have someone you need to forgive, write a prayer asking God to soften your heart.

Psalm 119: 76-77: I know, O Lord, that your decisions are right and that your punishment was right and did me good. Now let your loving-kindness comfort me, just as you promised. Surround me with your tender mercies that I may live. For your law is my delight.

  • The psalmist describes being “disciplined” by God, but what does he then ask for? Have you experienced this? How did God’s loving-kindness comfort you?

Palm 141:5: Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness, let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers.

  • This is a different kind of “kindness”. How can a rebuke be kind? How should this vers affect our way of interacting with our fellow believers?

“Jesus, we pray your Holy Spirit would take over. Help us yield to you more and more, so as image bearers of a Holy God, Kingdom people, Children of God, we may bring the light into the world with kindness and love. Amen.”

 

Click to get the printable with each scripture and a question or prompt to help you apply the verses to your life. 

When Kindness is not Easy

Let’s face it. Sometimes kindness is not easy. Sometimes it doesn’t flow out of us like we’d hoped because kindness is not always returned. Read this definition from Life, Hope, and Truth:

Kindness is humbly giving of ourselves in love and mercy to others who may not be able to give anything back, who sometimes don’t deserve it, and who frequently don’t thank us for it. Basically kindness means a way of thinking that leads to doing thoughtful deeds for others.

When kindness is hard to give, take some time to stop and ask why.

Is it pride, unforgiveness, or judgment that doesn’t allow the kindness to flow?

The word “kindness” has been translated in Galatians 5:22 from the Greek word Chrestos. It means a softening or mellowing of something that was once harsh. It is not in our nature to give such humble, merciful kindness to people who don’t deserve it, but we have been given the most wonderful kindness from God in his Son and the gift of his Spirit.

“Soften our hearts, Lord. Make us mellow in our response. Cultivate Chestos in us. Help us slow down and look for opportunities to be kind. Fill us and empower the fruit of kindness to flow from our hearts, minds, and actions. Amen. ”

A Great Way to Start Your Day

I’m looking forward to studying kindness with you. Join my daily broadcast on Facebook. (Just follow me.) It’s live at 8:20 AM ET. Come on over to my kitchen and sit around my table for some soul nourishment as we dig deeper into each “bite” for the day. You can watch them later on YouTube too if that’s better for you.

 

I’d love to hear from you. What’s one of the most kind actions anyone has done for you (besides Jesus.) Leave a comment!

 

Digging Deep in Kindness,

Andy

 

 

 

PS. If this was encouraging, and you don’t want to miss any Bite of Bread reading plans and posts, subscribe today! You’ll receive a 22-Day Devotion on Psalm 119 called Finding the Beauty {Full} in God’s Word.Just click here to dig deep to live fully. 🙂 

 

P.S.S. This is part of a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. Read the articles on love, joy, peace, and patience if you missed them!

 

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