Introduction: Galatians 5:22 tells us that another fruit of the
Spirit is kindness. How much do you appreciate it when people are
kind to you? In the rough and tumble of life, I notice and
appreciate kind people. If you continue reading beyond the list of
the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians, you come to Galatians 6:7.
That verse tells us that we reap what we sow. By being kind to
others, we cultivate kindness towards us. The question is, how do we
become kind? Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more
about God’s gift of kindness!
- Deserved Kindness
- Read 2 Samuel 9:1. What was David’s motivation to show
kindness? (Read 1 Samuel 20:12-15. Jonathan protects
David from Jonathan’s father, the King. Jonathan realizes
that David will eventually become the King (rather than
Jonathan) and so he asks David to show kindness to his
family. David is remembering their agreement.)
- Read 1 Samuel 20:16-17. What was at the bottom of
this concern for David? (It says that Jonathan loved
David as he loved himself. This is the attitude that
Jesus requires of us. Matthew 22:39.)
- Read 2 Samuel 9:2-3. What kind of power and influence did
this son of Jonathan possess? (None. He did not have
physical power or political influence. He seems to have
- David sent for this son, whose name is Mephibosheth. Read
2 Samuel 9:6-8. Was Mephibosheth afraid of David? If so,
why? (His grandfather was King Saul. David might have
thought it important to kill all of Saul’s descendants so
that they would not be able to claim the throne.)
- What is your answer to Mephibosheth’s question about
noticing a dead dog? (It was because of the love of
Jonathan. Jonathan, by the way, had been killed in
battle a long time before this.)
- David shows kindness to a dead man’s son. David has
nothing further to gain by this kindness, and, it turns
out, a lot to lose (see 2 Samuel 16:3-4). What lessons
can we learn about kindness from this story? (It started
with Jonathan showing unselfish love towards David. Our
first step in showing and receiving kindness is to
demonstrate unselfish love towards others.)
- Undeserved Kindness
- Read Matthew 5:43-48. How does the story of David and
Mephibosheth fit into this teaching of Jesus? (It does
not fit very well. David was not expecting anything from
Mephibosheth, but David’s kindness reflected the kindness
- What is Jesus teaching us about love (and kindness)
in this text? (David was doing what we might expect.
Jesus is teaching us to do more than is expected. Be
kind to those who are not kind to you.)
- Does this teaching apply to your marriage? (If
someone I love insults me, my natural inclination is
to withdraw. I guess “sulk” is the best description.
Jesus says do not withdraw, “greet” those who are
- Is this easy? (Notice that Jesus says the goal
is perfection: “be perfect … as your heavenly
Father is perfect.” Perfect is far from easy.)
- What have we learned so far about kindness? (That we need
to show it towards everyone. Showing kindness should
result in returned kindness to us and our family.)
- Humility and Kindness
- Can you remember a time when you deliberately withheld
kindness from someone else?
- If so, take a moment and try to figure out why?
- Read Matthew 11:28-30. We studied this text last week,
but I want to come back to it. Do you think being gentle
is something like being kind?
- Do you think humility is related to being kind?
- If not, go back to the time when you deliberately
withheld kindness from someone. Was it because you
were angry or unhappy with that person? Was it
because you thought helping that person was
- If your answer to either of these questions is,
“yes,” would humility (on your part) have solved the
- For example, how many times are you angry or
unhappy because someone has humiliated you?
- If you were more humble, would you still think
you were “above” someone else?
- You may be coming to the conclusion that humility is one
of the keys to being kind. Since Jesus tells us to learn
to be “gentle and humble in heart” ( Matthew 11:29), how
would you learn to be humble? It is, after all, a
learned trait according to Jesus! (One way to become
humble is to be humiliated.)
- Let’s review our discussion so far. David showed
kindness to Jonathan’s son because Jonathan first
showed kindness to David. But, Jesus teaches us to
show kindness to everyone – including those who
insult us ( Matthew 5:43-46).
- What is the benefit of being insulted?
(Generally, when I think about the times I felt
truly insulted, it was because I was
humiliated. Being humiliated teaches me to be
- Can you see now why Jesus told us to learn to
be gentle and humble? (Learning to be humble is
the path to learning to be kind!)
- Gentle Tongues
- Read Proverbs 15:1 and Proverbs 25:15. Last week we
studied patience, now we study being kind. Can you break
bones with your tongue?
- What would be a “gentle tongue?” (One that speaks in
a kind way.)
- In your experience, does a gentle answer keep the
other person from being angry?
- In Matthew 12 we find that the religious leaders accused
Jesus of using the power of Satan to do His miracles.
Read Matthew 12:34 and Matthew 23: 33. Has Jesus
forgotten the gentle answer proverb? Is this what Jesus
had in mind when He said to “greet” our enemies: “Hello,
viper! Burn in hell.”
- These lessons I write each week generate a number of
e-mails. Some want to know why their e-mailed lesson
did not arrive. (Answer, sign up again.) Some write
to thank me for the lesson. Some have questions.
And, some send verbal bombs. Last week a fellow read
one of my lessons about the principles of
understanding Bible prophecy, and he wrote to tell
me that I was lying. I wrote back that he needed to
study his Bible more and become more mature. He
responded that I was a dunce. Clearly, I was making
progress. Is “Hello viper” ever the right response
- How does the idea of being humble fit into the
“Hello viper” response?
- How many times have you used sharp words, or a witty,
harsh response, to show that you are smarter than your
- How does that fit into humility? (“I’m helping the
other person to learn humility” is not an acceptable
- When Jesus tells us to “learn from Me” ( Matthew 11:29)
does that mean we can do exactly as He did? (What
concerns me is that Jesus knew the hearts of the vipers,
and I do not. While I am still struggling with this
issue, it seems to me that it is pride which motivates me
to make “viper” comments more than anything else. Why not
examine your motives for “viper” comments.)
- Friend, being kind is something that we can learn through
the power of the Holy Spirit. The path of learning
kindness involves love and humility. Will you, right now,
invite the Holy Spirit to develop love, humility and
kindness in your heart?
- Next week: The Fruit of the Spirit is Goodness.