Expressing the Fruit of the Spirit at Work: Kindness
KINDNESS is defined by the Oxford Language Dictionary as: “the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate.” As we look at this next aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit, it might not be quite as obvious as to why this one is included for us Christian women to consider expressing in the workplace. However, the Message translation of our key text shows us the answer to this question:
“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” (Galatians 5:22-23 MSG)
Kindness for the Christian is demonstrating “a sense of compassion in the heart.” Not for the sake of just being kind, but by letting the Spirit give us this sense of compassion from deep within our very being. The heart in Jewish tradition referred to the whole person, so showing kindness with our whole being takes just a kind act to a deeper place. The heart of the matter is what matters to God, and to us as Christian women.
How would this look in our workplaces?
When that client calls or comes in and is losing their temper, kindness the Spirit’s way doesn’t hold it against them, but continues to remain kind in our actions, responses and business dealings with them - each and every time.
When an employee makes a big mistake, kindness the Spirit’s way is to deal with it in private with them, and to sincerely seek to understand why this happened by not jumping to conclusions. To keep calm, and speak in a kind way which shows you value them as a person despite their error.
When you need to let a person go from your department or company, kindness gives them a written reference for what you can recommend them for, as well as their complete pay cheque of what is owing to them. Again, this should be done in private, and not in the middle of their shift. Kindness also does not have them train the next person taking over their position, nor would you give them immediate notice they aren’t coming to work again tomorrow. Kindness God’s way tries to kindly deliver this news while they still have 2-3 weeks of work, so they have time to prepare for this change.
Jesus was a great demonstrator of kindness the way God looks at it, and desires us to express it. He forgave those who harmed him, showed kindness to those from different cultures and backgrounds, and not only healed people, but left them better than they were before their encounter with Him. Even on the cross, He knew His mother would have quite the hard time coping with His death so He asked His closest disciple to take care of her. This is true compassion from the heart.
This week, Christians have just celebrated Easter, where the kindness and grace of God met our sin and transformed us forever more. Out of His loving kindness, Jesus went to the cross to bear the weight of our sins and pay the debt created by our wrong doings. When He rose and came back to life, He invited those who believe in Him to do the same - to die to their old self, and to rise to a new life following and living like Him. Such kindness, indeed!
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 ESV
One of the kindest women in recent history, Mother Teresa gave her life to serve the orphans and outcasts of India, and the following ‘kindness’ quote beautifully puts this Fruit of the Spirit into perspective.
“Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting…Don’t only give your care, but give your heart as well.” - Mother Teresa
As you go throughout your day at work and at home, be sure to invite the Holy Spirit to guide you when you face situations where His kindness is the response God wants you to demonstrate. The Holy Spirit will help you respond from and with His heart for the ones in front of you.
May you offer God’s kindness to all you meet this week at work, and may you experience the blessings by doing so.
Karla Lees, Guest Blogger