CHRISTIAN CHARACTER IN THE AGE OF COVID-19: Kindness- October 11, 2020
Kindness is a desperately needed fruit of God’s Spirit.
The Olympic Games are a great source for stories about kindness. We remembered the story of Henry Pearce of Australia, who was competing in the single scull rowing event at the 1928 Olympics. He was leading when a duck and her string of ducklings came into view up ahead. They were on a collision course and Pearce reckoned that his scull would cut the string in two and sink a few ducklings in the process, so he pulled in his oars. When the ducks passed, Pearce again bent his back to the task. There's a happy ending to the story. Pearce won. Usually, acts of sportsmanship result in defeat.
Remember Leo Durocher's pronouncement, "Nice guys finish last"? It happened a couple of years ago in the marathon tandem kayak racing event at the world championships in Copenhagen. Danish paddlers were leading when their rudder was damaged in a portage. British paddlers, who were in second place, stopped to help the Danes fix it. The Danes went on to defeat the British by one second in an event that lasted nearly three hours. But there's a happy ending to this story too.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the British kayakers won what many people regard as the highest honor in sports. They became the winner of the Pierre de Coubertin International Fair Play Trophy. The trophy is named for the founder of the modern Olympic Games, and it has been awarded annually for the past 28 years to people in sports who have demonstrated nobility of spirit. It is big news in Europe, but it has not been given much recognition in the United States.
In the past, the trophy has gone to a Hungarian tennis player who pleaded with officials to give his opponent more time to recover from a cramp, and to a high school basketball coach who forfeited the Georgia (US) state championship after he found out that one of his players was scholastically ineligible. The first trophy went to an Italian bobsledder named Eugenio Monti for a gesture that exhibited a touch of class. In the two-man bobsled event at the 1964 Innsbruck Olympics, Monti was the leader after his final run. The only one given a chance to beat him was Tony Nash of Great Britain. As Nash and his teammate got ready for their final run, they discovered that a critical bolt on their sled had snapped at the last moment. Monti was informed of the problem and immediately took the corresponding bolt from his own sled and sent it up to Nash. Nash fixed his sled, came hurtling down the course to set a record and won the gold medal.
Bits & Pieces, October 15, 1992, pp. 4-6.
"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."
Galatians 5:13-26 NIV
Fruit of the Spirit & Carnal Counterfeits
Love - Pleasure
Joy - Happiness
Peace - Satisfaction
Forbearance - Passivity
I. KINDNESS AND IT’S COUNTERFEIT
chréstotés: goodness, excellence, uprightness
Original Word: χρηστότης, τητος, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (khray-stot'-ace)
Definition: goodness, excellence, uprightness
Usage: goodness, uprightness, kindness, gentleness.
5544 xrēstótēs (a noun, derived from 5543 /xrēstós, "useful, profitable") – properly, useable, i.e. well-fit for use (for what is really needed); kindness that is also serviceable.
5544 /xrēstótēs ("useful kindness") refers to meeting real needs, in God's way, in His timing (fashion). Hence 5544 (xrēstótēs) is listed as a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). With the believer, 5544 /xrēstótēs ("divine kindness") is the Spirit-produced goodness which meets the need and avoids human harshness (cruelty). "We have no term that quite carries this notion of kind and good" (WP, 1, 92).
Copyright 1987, 2011 by Helps Ministries, Inc.
NAS Exhaustive Concordance
goodness, excellence, uprightness
good (1), kindness (9).
NAS Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible with Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries Copyright © 1981, 1998 by The Lockman Foundation
All rights reserved Lockman.org
Thayer's Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 5544: χρηστότης
χρηστότης, χρηστητος, ἡ (χρηστός);
2. benignity, kindness: Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 6:6; Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:12; Titus 3:4; ἡ χρηστότης τίνος ἐπί τινα, Romans 11:22 (opposed to ἀποστομια (which see)); Ephesians 2:7. (The Sept.; Euripides, Isaeus, Diodorus, Josephus, Aelian, Herodian; often in Plutarch) (See Trench, Synonyms, § lxiii.)
THAYER'S GREEK LEXICON, Electronic Database.
Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2006, 2011 by Biblesoft, Inc.
All rights reserved. Used by permission. BibleSoft.com
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
gentleness, goodness, kindness.
From chrestos; usefulness, i.e. Morally, excellence (in character or demeanor) -- gentleness, good(-ness), kindness.
see GREEK chrestos
A. Root word is "useful" or "profitable"
B. Useful kindness, goodness that meets the need and avoids human harshness
C. "We have no word that carries the notion of kind and good"
D. Other translations - gentleness, sweetness
E. Counterfeit - nice (without action)
II. KIND AND GOOD
British statesman and financier Cecil Rhodes, whose fortune was used to endow the world-famous Rhodes Scholarships, was a stickler for correct dress--but apparently not at the expense of someone else's feelings. A young man invited to dine with Rhodes arrived by train and had to go directly to Rhodes's home in his travel-stained clothes. Once there he was appalled to find the other guests already assembled, wearing full evening dress. After what seemed a long time Rhodes appeared, in a shabby old blue suit. Later the young man learned that his host had been dressed in evening clothes, but put on the old suit when he heard of his young guest's dilemma.
Today in the Word, February, 1991, p. 10.
A. Inner goodness
B. Meeting needs
C. Relational goodness
III. KINDNESS AND STERNNESS OF GOD
“If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!”
Romans 11:17-24 NIV
A. The kindness of God toward those being saved (blessing).
B. The sternness of God for those who disbelieve (curse).
C. The call to continue in His kindness through faith.
“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.”
Titus 3:4-7 NIV
Demonstrate your usefulness by being kind to someone this week. This comes from our inner goodness, not the deservedness of the recipient. Be kind like God is kind to you.
It is our custom to offer an "invitation" following the preaching of the Word. You may want to follow Jesus. You may want to proclaim your faith. You may want to repent (stop doing ungodly things and start doing Godly things). Perhaps you want to be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. If you have been moved by the Holy Spirit to make a decision in your life, I would be honored to speak with you in the upper parking lot following the service about what God is doing in your life.