Kindness & Goodness

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"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law."  Galatians 5:22-23

This study is about kindness and goodness.  When you first look at this verse in scripture you may think that kindness and goodness are the same thing.  Let's look at the following definitions to see if we can distinguish the difference between kindness and goodness:
bulletKindness - having a good or benevolent nature or disposition;  desiring to do good to others;  the sincere desire for the happiness of others (the thinking)
bulletGoodness - moral excellence;  virtue;  generosity;  the activity calculated to advance kindness  (the doing)

It has been stated by a published author  "kindness is the sincere desire for the happiness of others.  Goodness is the activity calculated to advance that happiness."  Kindness is the thinking, the thinking of others.  Goodness is the doing.  If kindness is the thinking then goodness is the doing.

Now let's look at Acts 10, verse 37 & 38 - "You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached-how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him."  The word healing in this context doesn't limit itself to just physical healing, it can be mental, emotional or spiritual healing as well.  Jesus of Nazareth was anointed with the Holy Spirit, and with power.  Jesus went about doing good, healing the whole body, all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.  Jesus went about meeting the needs of other people, showing kindness and goodness.

A lot of times we exhibit kindness when we think about other people, desiring good things or happiness for others.  The question to ask is "Do we do anything about it?"  In other words "Will I calculate the activity that is necessary to advance that kindness in some way?".   Kindness (the thinking) is just the beginning.  It is like a seed that God plants in our lives through the Holy Spirit.  Goodness (the doing) is the next step that God wants us to take through the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.  It may be helping someone by providing food or shelter or clothing.  It could be that we might be called upon to provide transportation for the elderly or sick.  Or maybe God will lead you to visit the sick and those that are unable to leave their homes due to age or disabilities.  It certainly involves witnessing to unbelievers.  There are lots of other ways not listed above that we can extend goodness to others. 

Now let's look to scripture for some examples where Jesus exhibited both kindness and goodness:

bulletMathew 8, verses 1 thru 3:  'When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him.  A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said,  "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."  Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man.  "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!"  Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.'  Jesus expressed kindness when he reached out his hand and said to the man "I am willing".  Jesus was sympathetic to the man's condition.  Jesus saw the man's faith.  Leprosy was a dreaded disease and lepers were avoided and shunned.  By reaching out His hand and touching the man,  Jesus was demonstrating kindness.  Jesus didn't stop there,  He showed forth goodness by performing a miracle when He said to the man "Be clean!"  and the man was cured of his leprosy.
bulletMathew 14 verses 13 thru 21:  'When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.  Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.  When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.  As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late.  Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food."  Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away.  You give them something to eat."  "We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,"  they answered.  "Bring them here to me," he said.  And he directed the people to sit down on the grass.  Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.  Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.  They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.  The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.'  In these verses we see acts of kindness and acts of goodness.  Just prior to this event, Jesus had heard that  John the Baptist had been beheaded.  Herod the king had given the order for John's beheading.  Jesus was needing some time alone and had withdrew to a solitary place.  The crowds probably did not know that Jesus wanted some time alone, they just wanted to be near him so they followed him.  Jesus didn't tell them to go away because he needed some time alone, rather he demonstrated kindness to them by having compassion on them.  He then demonstrated goodness by healing their sick.  As the day progressed, the disciples suggested that Jesus send the crowds away so that they could go to their villages and buy themselves some food.  This may have been a kind gesture on the part of the disciples as they were some distance away from the nearest village.  I truly believe that the disciples thought this was the best thing to do.  Jesus' reply was to feed the crowd rather than send them away.  Jesus blessed what was available which happened to be five loaves of bread and two fish.  We see in these verses a miracle being performed.  We now see goodness in action.  How many times do we do well when it comes to acts of kindness but fail to follow through with acts of goodness?  It's important not only to be sympathetic and compassionate to others (acts of kindness), we should also follow through by actually helping others (acts of goodness).  And as illustrated in the verses above, it's not important how much or how little we have, what's important is that we are willing to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit to touch lives through both acts of kindness and acts of goodness.
bulletJohn Chapter 4, verses 4 thru 30 and verse 39 - 'Now he had to go thru Samaria.  So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.  "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep.  Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"  Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."  The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."  He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."  "I have no husband," she replied.  Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband.  The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.  What you have just said is quite true."  "Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet.  Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."  Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.  Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."  The woman said, "I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming.  When he comes, he will explain everything to us."  Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."  Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman.  But no one asked, "What do you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?"  Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?"  They came out of the town and made their way toward him.  ..........Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did."  Wow!  Where do we start?  Did you see all the acts of kindness that Jesus showed forth to the Samaritan woman?  It was customary in those days that men did not carry on conversations with women unless they were family members or betrothed to one another.  Jews certainly did not have anything to do with Samaritans much less talking to them.  Sounds like some of the same ethnic issues that we still have going on today in various parts of the world, doesn't it?  Jesus chose to break the ethnic barrier and extended an act of  kindness toward the Samaritan woman by talking with her and eventually effected an act of goodness by revealing to her that he was indeed the Messiah.  As a result, the woman was saved and her testimony resulted in many more Samaritans being saved.  Can I say it again?  Wow!
bulletTitus Chapter 3, verses 3 thru 7 - "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.  We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life."  Verse 3 describes the lost condition we are in before salvation.  Look now at verse 4 and 5 for just a moment.  It states But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us..."  When the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, it doesn't stop there.  The next verse, the next three words are the goodness.  That's the goodness that God showed to us.  That Christ followed through by dying on the cross for us to take our place so that we could be justified and become joint heirs with Christ and have the hope of eternal life.  That is the doing on the part of Christ.  He saved us. He went to the cross.  That was the goodness that he showed us. 

Our purpose in life, of course, is to glorify God.  In Galatians 5:13 - "You, my brothers, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature;  rather, serve one another in love."  Ephesians 4:32 - "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."  Ephesians 5:1 thru 2 - "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."  

If you go back through the verses we just looked at in Mathew, John,  and Titus, Jesus never stopped with the kindness.  He always calculated the activity required to meet the needs for the sincere happiness and joy of others.  Jesus never fell short when it came to goodness.

Now let's look at Luke chapter 6, verse 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 sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked."  You know it is easy for us to be kind to people who are kind; to people who are loving; to people who are nice.  It's real easy to be nice to those people, to be kind, to even show goodness to those people.  But I want you to see for just a moment;  remember we are to be imitators of God as stated in Ephesians 5:1 ("Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children).  Now let's look closely again at Luke 6:35,  it says in the last part of the verse, "....because he (referring to God) is kind to the ungrateful and wicked."  God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  You know what that says to you and I ?  We're to be kind and good to believers and unbelievers.  To the loving and unloving.  To those who do not deserve it.  When Christ went to the cross;  that's what grace is, unmerited favor.  That is what Christ showed to us on the cross, unmerited favor.  

We've already read in Acts 10:38 where it says "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him."  Even Jesus had the anointing of the Holy Spirit in the power of the Holy Spirit which enabled Him to go about doing good for He was fully man while he was here.  Now look at Acts chapter 2, verses 38 & 39 - ' Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call."  Now look at Ephesians chapter 1, verses 13 & 14 - "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of you salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of his glory."  After listening to the gospel of our salvation and having believed, we simultaneously received the Holy Spirit (it is not a time sequence). Remember, at the moment of your salvation you receive the Holy Spirit.  You receive what you need in order to fulfill the Fruits of the Spirit at the time of your salvation when you first believed.  

We are to be walking by the spirit and not by the flesh.  How do we do that?  Only through the power of the Holy Spirit!  You might say, "I just  don't have what it takes !"  Yes you do!  When you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you were given the power of the Holy Spirit.  You were given all that you need.  He is the author and perfector of our faith.  He will be faithful to complete what He has started in you.  You will not have need of anything.  You have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.  That's what it says in Ephesians, so you can have the assurance to know that anytime there is an opportunity for you to be kind,  go ahead and calculate the activity required to advance that happiness and joy that God has given you; the power that you need is there and available through the Holy Spirit.  He has not left you alone there to figure it out by yourself.  The question is, "Will we be obedient to follow through?  Will we be obedient to do the "doing"?  If you are trying to do it in your own flesh, you won't be able to do it.  What we have to depend upon is not ourselves;  not our own resources;  but realize that when God calls us to do something, to extend that goodness that is necessary, that He will enable us to do it.  He will provide everything that is needed to accomplish His will.



"Acts of Kindness" almost always are precursors to "Acts of Goodness".  Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit when He is urging you to show acts of kindness.  And remember not to quench the leading of the Holy Spirit by failing to see the opportunity provided for the acts of goodness that God wants to provide through you to touch the lives of others.   


Bible verses referenced in this presentation
are from the following translation:
New International Version