The Four Letter Word That Changed The Way I Understand Love

love and kindness

Have you ever had a hard time loving someone? You know you’re supposed to love your friend or family member but it’s just so hard. There’s one word that caught my attention in the Bible last week. It opened my eyes to a different way to look at love and I would like to share it with you. This simple four letter word can help all of us love people better and to love people when it’s difficult.

I was reading an article on love last week and it quoted the 1 Corinthians 13 verses that give us the Bible’s definition of love. What stood out to me was the part that says, “love is kind.” It’s right there at the beginning but I’ve always missed it. The word kind in Greek is chréstos. Which means, show oneself useful, i.e. act benevolently:–be kind.

Love Is Kind

I’ve missed this way of loving others many times in my life. As I thought about kindness the last several days, I came up with a list of where I missed the mark.

  • Saying harsh things under my breath
  • Saying mean things out loud
  • Cursing
  • Not saying thank you
  • Not saying please
  • Honking the horn
  • Being rude to my wife or kids
  • Not holding the door for someone
  • Forgetting someone’s birthday
  • Being too lazy to call a friend or family member

I could go on of course, but this is embarrassing enough.

Kindness Through The Holy Spirit

It’s a challenge to always show love and kindness. But God never leaves us with a challenge that he doesn’t equip us to overcome. The Bible has a solution for how to consistently show kindness. It’s called the Holy Spirit and He gives us the fruit of the Spirit.

When I made this connection, I got really excited about this love is kind thing. The Fruit of the Spirit makes something like always being kind that is so challenging to do at times, possible.

In Galatians 5:22-23 we read, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

That word chréstos snuck in again. And the amazing thing about the fruit of the spirit is it isn’t “fruits” it’s fruit. Meaning, we get all of this through God. Not just gentleness or joy or peace, but all of them!

Leaning Into The Fruit Of The Spirit Produces Kindness

We can lean into this gift that God has given believers, knowing we can show kindness in His strength. In my own strength, I will continue to falter and the list above will grow. But for me, understanding that love is kind and that God gave me His Spirit with the gift of kindness, now that list looks a lot different.

  • Encouraging people
  • Saying nice things or just staying quiet when I’m irritated.
  • Forgiving people
  • Saying thank you and please
  • Finding ways to be courteous
  • Being purposeful in connecting with friends and family
  • Giving of your time and resources to others.

Of course, there are thousands of ways to be kind. My kids demonstrated what kindness can look like on Friday in a very simple way.

My kids were playing with puzzles and were getting really frustrated about our one-year-old messing up their fun. But kindness won out. They ended up finding a way to include Lydia and to give her things to do. And on top of all of this, when they were cleaning up, Lydia helped out and both girls said thank you to Lydia for the help.

After understanding that love is kind, I now realize simple gestures and words that these three little girls exchanged were actually demonstrations of love. So cool!

A Little Homework For You

Now the next time you read these verses on a poster or picture, I challenge you to put your name in place of the word love. So now I say, “Kyle is patient, Kyle is kind…” How does that sit with you?

How can you show kindness this week? Because when you do, you are demonstrating love!

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