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Kindness (Youth Transcript)

Does anyone else spend more time in their head than they do in the real world?

I know I’ve shared this before, but I’m an introvert. I spend a lot of my time in my head. I think through things.

There have been multiple times where this has caused Caleb some frustration. He will say or ask something, and I begin to mull it over in my head, trying to come to a decision before responding.

…Except sometimes I have an awesome or thoughtful response, but I never actually say it out loud. So then he’s like ……????

Recently, I have actually been experiencing the opposite. This is happening mostly in grocery stores where I continually find myself narrating my life out loud as I shop.

But I don’t realize I’m doing it until someone responds.

So the first time this happened, I was at Target. I’d been several time that week looking for something that was out of stock. But this day I went in, and I went to the shelf, and it was there!

And I said “Yes!”

And this woman down the aisle goes, “I’m so happy for you.”

And I was so surprised! I thought, “Wait did that come out of my mouth?”

Yes, Rylee. It did.

It happened next when I was grocery shopping. I went to grab some heavy whipping cream because I’ve been making a lot of soup. I reached for it only to realize the price had doubled since the week before. So I stopped and went, “Oh my gosh!”

And the woman at the door next to me goes, “I know, right?”

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh out loud or face palm.

It happened again when I was getting groceries for Christmas. Caleb was with me, so I was half talking to myself, half talking to him. I had said we could move on and then I stopped and said, “Wait, do you want some eggnog?”

And the guy right behind us enthusiastically goes, “Who doesn’t want eggnog?”

Have you guys had moments like this? Where strangers engage with you?

Like maybe the carhop at Sonic says, “Your glasses are so cute.”

Or the cashier at the gas station says, “These things are so good,” as you buy chips or candy.

In every situation, every day, we are faced with a choice of whether or not we will engage. We have opportunities to pass something on to the people we encounter, and we have to make a choice. We can pass something positive, something negative or be complete passive and not engage at all.

I was faced with this just yesterday.

I went to the Library yesterday afternoon to prepare for this message. After about an hour, I see a homeless guy approach, so I look up. He gestures to the chair, asking if he can join me at my table. I nod and smile, and in that moment I’m like, "Okay God, what is it you want from me here?” Because I wanted to just keep my headphones in and keep my head down as I studied.

I had a choice. I bet a lot of you would also choose to keep your headphones in and head down.

That’s our culture, right? It’s not that big of a deal. It doesn’t make us mean people just because we want to keep to ourselves, right?

Except that I was there working on this message, and I knew from my studying that actually, it does matter. I might not care if I keep my head down, but God cares a lot.

I knew that He didn’t want me to keep my head down.

As a reminder, we’re studying the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23:

“Now the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against these things there is no law.”

This week I’m covering kindness, and what I learned about kindness is that at its heart, it is the choice to engage with intentionality.

Now, for the purposes of our talk tonight, we’re going to look at two ways you can choose to engage.

First, you can be nice.

Being nice does not cost you much.

Niceness looks like keeping your mouth shut when your friend wears an ugly shirt to school because you don’t want them to feel embarrassed.

Niceness means you give the little half smile and wave to the person you see across the room.

Niceness is when an angry four year old withholds their emotions enough not to hit back or bite their toddler friend.

Niceness does not keep things real.

Niceness can be polite, but it’s minimal.

What a person with the Holy Spirit should be is kind.

Kindness tells the truth even when it’s hard.

Kindness keeps it real.

Kindness cares past the surface level.

To keep it really practical, here’s a definition of kindness:

Kindness is to treat others with gracious generosity regardless of whether or not they deserve it.

This reminds me of the kindness we have been shown by God. Let’s read Titus 3:4-5:

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”

God in Jesus showed us gracious generosity—that is, the forgiveness of our sins and opportunity to rejoin Him in a relationship—even though we in no way deserved it.

Taking the definition a step further…

The Greek word that is translated kindness here means “goodness expressing itself in deeds.”

So without going too far into the weeds on the Greek, here’s what you need to know: This word for kindness emphasizes the spirit in which an act is done.

With both definitions here, we see that kindness requires action. But it’s not the minimal action of “niceness.” It’s characterized by generosity and what we call tender-heartedness which is linked to gentleness and compassion.

So taking a step back, these are words that describe what kindness looks like:

  • Graciousness

  • Generosity

  • Selflessness

  • Goodness

  • Gentleness

  • Compassion

As we understand the depth of the definition of kindness, we can see even further what God has extended to us. In Romans 11:22 it says:

“Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in His kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.”

God severely punishes those who choose to reject Him by sending them into eternal separation from Him. They are cast into hell forever.

But those who choose to follow God? They get to continue experiencing the kindness of God forever. We experience it every day while we’re here on earth, and through it we will be united to Him for eternity.

While we are here on earth now, experiencing His kindness, we are to reflect that kindness to others. Kindness is a Fruit of the Spirit—which is God’s character produced in us.

Now, that’s kind of a hefty description. That’s a tall order. Being kind is going to take more work and more intentionality than just being nice.

Being kind is going to take being engaged in your relationship with God.

Some of you are thinking, “Great not this again. Every time I come to church you tell me to read my Bible and spend time with God. Tell me something new.”

But guys, if this is how you feel then you don’t get it yet.

If you are sick of this answer and want something “else” or something more “practical” and less “spiritual” then okay, go read a self-help book and give it your very best effort to be kind out of sheer will. Try to overcome your innate desire for everything to revolve around you and let me know how that goes.

But if you want to bear the fruit of biblical kindness then you need God, period.

Our life source, our desire to change, our ability to speak life over people and pour kindness over people comes from God.

You cannot bear the fruit of the Spirit without the Spirit.

Why not? Well, because fruit has to grow from something. Grapes don’t spontaneously appear on the ground, they grow on a vine. The vine is established, upheld, and tapped into a water source, a life source.

So why would we think we can begin to look more like God without God?

We talk a lot about why these characteristics matter spiritually. We’re in church, we’re supposed to talk about that here.

But I also know that we as humans long for tangibility, so I want to make the impact of kindness tangible for you. God has to be in it, and He cares a lot about what’s good for you. And kindness is good for you.

Research shows that performing even one act of kindness toward someone else every day:

  • Reduces your stress levels

  • Reduces anxiety

  • Reduces depression

  • Floods your body with serotonin

  • Floods your body with endorphins that reduce pain

Being kind is literally so physically good for your mind and body.

Beyond that, someone who receives your act of kindness will respond the same way, and someone witnessing your act of kindness will have a similar physical response that leaves them inspired to react to that response by acting kindly themselves.

For the low cost of moving past niceness into kindness by the power of the Holy Spirit you can transform your mind and body and have long-lasting positive impacts on the people around you.

This is a way we see the Fruit of God’s Spirit present in our lives. The people around us will be touched by Him as we represent Him well by embodying His kindness.

That’s great, but how do we actually do that?

Where does kindness come from? If we are connected to the Spirit of God and engaged in our relationship with God, then how do we go about giving acts of kindness?

Two things:

First, Start with the Heart.

What’s going on in your heart? Is it dark? Is it hard? Self-focused? Ask God to transform your heart to be more like His, and respond as this happens one step at a time. Maybe even through acts of kindness.

I had a hard heart check one day. It snuck up on me too.

There’s a song called Open Space by Housefires. I used to listen to this song constantly! One day I was listening to it as I drove, and it came to the bridge which says:

  • Do whatever you want to do

  • Say whatever you want to say

  • Move however you want to move

  • Change whatever you want to change

Suddenly I knew I couldn’t sing this song because I didn’t actually mean that. There were things in my life I was unwilling to give up. I wanted control over them.

I had to stop singing it because God knows the different between a heart that means it and empty words.

So when I say, “Ask God to transform your heart,” I don’t mean check the box of praying today for something that sounds nice and spiritual. God hears past the words. He hears our intentions. It is the intentions of our hearts that must first experience transformation.

So start with the heart.

Second, adopt God’s perspective.

Ask things like, “What is God’s heart toward this person?”

Because the answer is—He loves that person. That person who pushes your buttons or makes you uncomfortable or talks down to you—that person is also made in the image of God, and God desires to see that person transformed. Jesus saw that person and chose to sacrifice Himself for them just as much as He did for you.

So then ask, “How do I embody God’s heart toward this person in this moment?”

Don't stay nice. Choose to engage and be kind.

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