Who Gets the Credit?

It’s often been said that there is no limit to what a person can do as long as he doesn’t care who gets the credit. I think acts of kindness can fit into that category. We can do all sorts of apparently kind things, but when a motive of wanting some credit or reward comes into play, it stops being simple kindness and morphs into something more selfish. And that limits us.

Our motivation reveals the difference between the Spiritual fruit of kindness and mere kind acts. Jesus judged the Pharisees harshly because they loved to parade their good works in public. I’m sure some of those works were attempts to look kind to others.

Think about these: benevolence, thoughtfulness, consideration. Know anyone who embodies these qualities? They all equate to kindness.butterflies

Kindness is one of several fruit that is shown more often by actions. Someone will not be called kind unless acts of kindness are evident.  But what is the motivation behind these acts?

  • A person would be able to act kind without having the fruit of kindness, but it sure wouldn’t last long. Eventually the hardness of heart would reveal the kind acts as being nothing more than planned deception: the acts do not reflect a kind soul but a selfish and manipulative one.  This sort of false kindness is meant for selfish gain.
  • Someone could perform multiple acts of kindness from guilt or shame. This often happens because she doesn’t feel worthy of love, so she tries to earn it. Perhaps by doing this she will eventually feel worthy. This false kindness will also not last long. It’s simply too exhausting. It’s frustrating to realize these acts of kindness do not earn love. Appreciation, yes, but not love.

The evidence of the fruit of kindness tends to be more spontaneous, flowing from within. People who have this fruit will usually be kind without having to think first. They will perform acts of kindness for the joy they bring. They act out of love, agape love that wishes well for others even at the expense of self.  They are kind because they see through the eyes of God to visualize the beautiful person within. They are kind because they understand that God has been kind to them.

The apostle Paul tells his people to be kind to one another in his letters to the Romans and the Ephesians. I wonder if they needed the reminder. Maybe not. We know Paul felt fatherly toward his far-flung flocks. Since kindness is a visible manifestation of love, and Jesus said unbelievers will know we are believers by our love for one another (John 13:35), Paul could certainly have been referring to this. Ephesus and Rome were tough places to be believers. They definitely needed to be the family of God.a helping hand


Like all fruit of the Spirit, kindness must be allowed to grow. We can’t force genuine kindness. Unfortunately, our society has lost much of what we once knew as kindness. The anonymity of the internet allows venom to be spewed without consequence. The cheapening of life and personhood has led to more violence and more hatred. We have forgotten how important it is to honor one another, to treat one another with kindness. Or even to treat ourselves kindly.

How can you be an example of Godly kindness? Ask Him to grow it in you, and follow through when He shows you an act of kindness to perform. Practice the art of honoring one another with kindness. As you practice, the fruit will grow and transform your heart.

And you will transform your surroundings.

This is part 7 of an 11 part series on the fruit of the spirit

Next time: Goodness

Part 1| Fruit-Tastic!

Part 2| How Does Your Garden Grow?

Part 3| But I Can’t Even Love Myself!

Part 4| Put on a Happy Face?

Part 5| In the Eye of the Hurricane

Part 6| I Want Patience, and I Want it Now!

Part 8| Be Good, For Goodness’ Sake


all illustrations courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net