We are teaching the fruit of the Spirit on Wednesday nights at AWANA. This Wednesday we talked about “kindness” (Strong’s 5544 below). I contrasted it with being “nice” (pleasing; agreeable; delightful). They are similar. It’s not wrong to be pleasing, agreeable, and delightful; and in an English dictionary the two words are used in each other’s definition.
So let me ask you the question I asked the Awana kids. If one of my one-year granddaughters, pleased with her climbing ability, gets a hold of a steak knife or a lit candle, and begins running with it, is it “kind” to be agreeably delighted with her climbing and running skills or is it kind to remove the sharp knife or lit candle from her hand? Of course it’s kinder to remove it! But what if she doesn’t understand and dissolves into tears? Wouldn’t it be better to be nice and give her back the knife? Of course not! That kind of “niceness” could lead to her death or injury!
Saying “no” when someone is on a self-destructive path is much kinder than simply agreeing with (accepting?) their choices.
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 © 2021 by Discovery Bible.