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!

  1. Deserved Kindness

    1. 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.)

      1. 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.)

    2. 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
      been forgotten.)

    3. 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.)

      1. 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.)

    4. 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.)

  2. Undeserved Kindness

    1. 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
      of Jonathan.)

      1. 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.)

      2. 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
        harming you.)

        1. Is this easy? (Notice that Jesus says the goal
          is perfection: “be perfect … as your heavenly
          Father is perfect.” Perfect is far from easy.)

    2. 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.)

  3. Humility and Kindness

    1. Can you remember a time when you deliberately withheld
      kindness from someone else?

      1. If so, take a moment and try to figure out why?

    2. 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?

      1. Do you think humility is related to being kind?

      2. 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
        “beneath” you?

      3. If your answer to either of these questions is,
        “yes,” would humility (on your part) have solved the
        problem? (Yes!)

        1. For example, how many times are you angry or
          unhappy because someone has humiliated you?

        2. If you were more humble, would you still think
          you were “above” someone else?

    3. 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.)

      1. 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).

        1. 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

        2. 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!)

  4. Gentle Tongues

    1. 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?

      1. What would be a “gentle tongue?” (One that speaks in
        a kind way.)

      2. In your experience, does a gentle answer keep the
        other person from being angry?

    2. 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.”

      1. 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
        for us?

      2. How does the idea of being humble fit into the
        “Hello viper” response?

    3. How many times have you used sharp words, or a witty,
      harsh response, to show that you are smarter than your

      1. How does that fit into humility? (“I’m helping the
        other person to learn humility” is not an acceptable

    4. 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.)

    5. 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?

  5. Next week: The Fruit of the Spirit is Goodness.