Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

Faith without works is dead. James 2:26

The entire quote from James 2:26 is, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”

It’s important to understand that James, the brother of Jesus, does not contradict the apostle Paul, who tells us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) For the very next verse – the very next thing Paul writes is this:

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Works is not the basis of faith, but the appropriate result of it.

So why is all this in the seed about kindness?

Because sometimes, we Christians (and I include myself here) tend to think of works as service projects or mission trips or volunteering at church or tithing.  We say we’ll pray for someone, then we do or don’t, and never follow up. Yet we never think of works as being kind and compassionate.

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? James 2:15-16

I remember a morning nearly a year ago that still haunts me. I had just come out of the grocery store, placed my few bags in the trunk of my car, unlocked the door and sat behind the wheel. I started the motor and looked up. Sitting before me, on a cold, metal bench in front of the entrance to the grocery was a man who was obviously homeless: his clothes were tattered, he was dirty, his hair was unkempt.

7000 year old Mesolithic male Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

7000 year old Mesolithic male
Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

I don’t know why, but I froze in my seat. He looked straight at me, and I can still recall his eyes, which were the bluest I have ever seen. Why I did not get out of my car, return to the store and buy him food and warm coffee I do not know to this day. Every time I remember the scene, I recall Matthew 25:44-45, “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’”

My kindness and compassion left me in that moment, and I have regretted it ever since.

We must be continually aware of not only our brothers and sisters in Christ, but our neighbors. We must see them as children of God. We must offer our hands and hearts in kindness and compassion as our works of faith. We never know when others hide pain or heartache, when we, with a smile or a gesture or a prompting from the Holy Spirit, can serve to be someone’s angel of compassion.

~~~

Angel of Compassion

by Olaina Kim

I met an angel late one night

she wandered right into my room

solemnly I sat, about to write

moving tales of grief and gloom

disturbing facts could fit a crime

recalling fragments of my shift

that often stay  with me a time.

 

I do remember tears that rain

Shedding such sorrows, unyielding stress

I’ve learned to accept their despair

of whiles of sadness and distress;

 

They’re stored in splinters everywhere

the attic of my cluttered mind,

in nooks and crannies here and there

of hurt and sorrow, the ugly kind.

 

If I allow for this to fester

in unknown bytes inside my brain

they may not go, and simply linger,

I’ll know not how to free the pain.

 

I’ve now discovered a new process

that helps unleash these murky stains

that echoes screams of endless pain

I now set free with recklessness

the bits and pieces that remain

they relocate and find a space,

and make its home another place.

My new approach is really simple

I act! Don’t say, just act and pray

I write, transcribe, sometimes I scribble

hoping the stories will  go away.

 

I hear the undertones and tears

lamenting souls, disturbing fears,

unleashed in prose and poems and tales,

tears turn to rain and raging gales.

 

I always wondered about their fate,

such anguish needs to hibernate

to feel embraced and be remembered

they need a home not kept asunder,

deserve a witness of their grief

acknowledging a past disturbed

too much abuse that has occurred. 

 

I look up from my desk and see

an angel standing close to me

she’s waiting there so patiently

as I unleash this flood of pain

she saves the flow of tender words

her arms are filled with misery

she hugs the woes so tenderly

of broken hearts and shattered souls

this angel standing on my right

awaits my words, I give, she takes…

I feel my heart unburdened… light!

 

I know for sure I’ll sleep tonight,

this angel came to me last night

appeased and freed my heart and soul

and now it feels so good and light;

 

I know for sure I’ll sleep tonight

so I’ll continue on my flight

listening to tales of woe and fright

but that’s tomorrow not tonight…

I know for sure I’ll sleep tonight.

~~~

Sometimes, pain is deep and restoration takes a lifetime. Our words can either create distance or can bring life. They can isolate or they can offer an oasis of kindness, tenderness and compassion in a desert of loneliness, pain and grief. We never know what hurts are deep inside someone’s core. We see them once a week at church, brush by them as we take our seat, and forget them until the following Sunday.

Look into someone’s eyes this week. Allow your faith to work through compassion and kindness.

To end on a lighter note, here are some things we can say more often in kindness.

20 Things We Should Say More Often

Angel of Compassion copyright 2014, Oliana Kim

Oliana Kim writes prose and poetry and posts at

Traces of the Soul http://tracesofthesoul.wordpress.com where she writes “whatever comes to mind…sometimes it can be a bit raw, other times serious and pensive and many times, I hope, just being able to laugh at myself when I get into situations that may not be fun but that no one can change…so may as well laugh about it.”

This blog can also be seen at Mind’s Seat www.marmarthunder.wordpress.com

37 comments

  1. We’ve all been remiss, have had our share of opportunities to give selflessly. Lovely post, Susan.

    Like

  2. I think we can all relate to having those moments when we should have done something but didn’t and just drove on. But you have a heart of goodness and love and compassion my dear, sweet friend and you are here now sharing it with us now. So very true that it doesn’t take much to make someone feel loved and encouraged, accepted and welcomed. To follow through as we say we will. Blessings to you my dear, sweet friend and thank you for the beauty of this post.

    Like

    1. Yes, I think we all experience those moments, too. Knowing that we are not judged by them, but can learn from them, is what grace and mercy are all about.

      Like

  3. Reblogged this on martha0stout and commented:
    Little acts of kindness can have a wider impact than you ever know. One person with a hand outstretched can reach a whole family for generations.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity.

      Like

      1. Thank you for posting!

        Like

  4. “We never know what hurts are deep inside someone’s core. We see them once a week at church, brush by them as we take our seat, and forget them until the following Sunday.” So many of us are guilty of this. I belong to a church that if you died they would not know it. No one seems to really care unless you are a charter member or of the elite group of do-gooders with position and money. It is a sad commentary on the lack of “kindness” in the church..not all churches, of course. I just know it to be that way where I have been going for too long. Kindness is a heart thing that covers a lot of territory. A smile or a caring word is enough sometimes and then there are those times when it takes more. Remembering: “To whom much is given, much is required.” Kindness should be first nature to a person of faith. It was Jesus’ character to be kind. Thank you for another fruit…xo dale

    Like

    1. I agree that sometimes all it takes is a smile, a kind word, a hand on a shoulder. Sometimes, that is just the beginning. Yet, those simple gestures can be all it takes to let someone know they are seen, are not invisible, and that may be the thing that lights an ember of hope.

      Like

  5. There is such gentleness offered in your words here, Susan. In the fruits you reveal there seems an ever deepening awakening with in you. I am wondering whether you wrote all these posts before publishing or whether each post is written week by week. It seems to me that how they change in tone and loving message suggests a gradual building. Everything about this one today spoke of simplicity. Act with words. Such a profoundly gentle nudge.
    You acknowledge culpability in not acting for the homeless man. Christ, it seems, looked at you that day. Not to condemn but to be ever mindful. We all are culpable, for sure. And need the lessons of humility to remind us that his eyes are in everyone.
    God bless you, Susan. This post is beautiful. Written from a beautiful heart and soul.x

    Like

    1. Thank you so very much, my sweet friend. I scheduled them ahead, and wrote them over several week’s time, but have edited them just before publishing to make sure they contain any last-minute thoughts that may have entered my heart.

      I am most certain it was Jesus who looked at me that day and after my initial guilt and remorse, realized that there was no condemnation there. You understood completely the message he sent I received it the full measure of his love.

      The more I learn from his heart, from reading God’s word, and from other people like you, the more it enriches my own words to pass along. Thank you again for your own gentle words and loving generosity.

      Like

  6. Compassion might have escaped you on that particular day, but perhaps the homeless man incident was one of your most important teachings. Today, you understand the lesson. In my experience, your love and compassion shines through and perhaps this experience played a significant role in bringing you to the person you are today. Blessings to you, Susan

    Like

    1. Thank you, Cat. I know it has made me more aware of looking deeper, and certainly not looking past people. That lesson grabbed onto my heart and will never let go.

      Like

    1. Thank you so much – your poem was lovely and vulnerable and your kindness in sharing it with my readers will not be forgotten.

      Like

  7. Your post is jam-packed with goodness. Thank you…:)

    Like

    1. Aw, thanks, Lori, for your kind words. 😉

      Like

  8. “Our words can either create distance or can bring life. They can isolate or they can offer an oasis of kindness, tenderness and compassion in a desert of loneliness, pain and grief.” Amen, well said!

    I think we’ve all been through those “frozen” moments we regret afterward. But God never condemns, He is so kind and patient, making us more ready and aware next time. Blessings.

    Like

    1. Thanks, Mel, for your kind words. Yes, thankfully, God is right there with compassion for those of us who know we are imperfect, but await His awareness in the moment for the next time.

      So glad to see you visiting my neck of the woods. Have a peaceful weekend.

      Like

      1. You’re welcome! Glad to be here. The funny thing is, I thought I had turned on the “follow” button for your blog before but, apparently, didn’t. Don’t know what happened but I’m on board now. Your blog is great. Cheers. 🙂

        Like

  9. Dave Burns · ·

    Reblogged this on Uncarvedbooks.

    Like

    1. Thanks again, Dave. Is there a category or tab where one could look up reblogs on your site? Love to see who else you are reblogging!

      Like

      1. Dave Burns · ·

        Doesn’t look like there is. Sorry. Actually, I don’t reblog much, but what the Spirit shares through you is always so powerful and right on point, it just needs to be “re-shared!” : )

        Like

      2. Thank you, Dave. You have honored and humbled me. Bless you for your thoughtfulness and sharing the words the Spirit has placed in my heart.

        Like

      3. Dave Burns · ·

        BTW – One of my books entitled UnApologetic will be free on Kindle this weekend 3/21-3/23. It’s my only non-fiction work (to date) and chronicles part of my journey as a former pastor. I thought you might be interested/it might speak to you. You can find it @ http://www.amazon.com/author/daveburns.
        Thanks again for all you do, and God Bless!
        Dave

        Like

      4. Thank you, Dave! I’ll be certain to order it an add a review. What a wonderful gift. 🙂

        Like

      5. Dave Burns · ·

        Thank you. I hope it speaks to you : )

        Like

      6. (oops – “and add a review.”) I’m certain it will. 😀

        Like

  10. Your bolg has become something I look forward to every day.
    Todays message was powerful. It is something that I think we all need to be more aware of. The early Church flourished and spread because at that time in history, acts of compassion and service were just not done unless the giver was also going to recieve something in exchange, then came the Christians doing something for nothing, and they changed the world. Your message was a reminder that the real power the ‘Body of Christ’ has is in the compassion of its members.
    God bless.
    Have a great weekend.

    Like

    1. Your kind comments went straight to my heart this morning and brought tears to my eyes. I feel so blessed to know that, as the Spirit writes these words through me, they wind their way into the hearts of others.

      Yes, I agree, those original Christ followers radically changed the culture, didn’t they? Perhaps, with a single act of kindness every day, we can, too. With God, all things are possible! 😀

      Thank you. You have made my weekend.

      Like

      1. It will never cease to amaze me how the Lord can lead people to eachother for comfort and strength. I am blessed by your wisdom, and look forward to getting better acquainted.

        Like

      2. Right back ‘atcha!

        Like

  11. wow! I really “felt” this. Thanks for sharing

    Like

    1. So glad, McDaniel. From my heart to yours. May His face shine upon you today.

      Like

  12. Dear Susan.. what a wonderful post. After I read this..I don’t know, there is something in my heart and mind. this was touching me so deep. We must admit that so easy talk about faith but oftentimes just lips service not followed by deeds. .thank you for wrote this powerful reminder to us..many love and blessings to you.

    Like

    1. Thank you, Karina. I’m so glad these words meant something to you. It’s in the little things, and your words were a kindness to me today. Bless you.

      Like

%d bloggers like this: