Why Is Kindness Considered a Fruit? [Fruit of the Spirit Series]

Gold Brush Stroke

Fruit of the Spirit Series image2Exercising kindness isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes it’s downright hard.

When busy, sick, or tired, being kind doesn’t come second nature. Yet kindness is a standard the Lord calls Christians to. 

I’ve occasionally wondered why God would mention kindness, specifically, as a fruit of the spirit. As an oft use synonym of “gentle” and a seemingly natural manifestation of “love,” on the surface kindness appears to already be covered in the other fruits.

I mean, common sense would dictate that if you are loving, you are kind by default, correct? And if one is gentle, kindness is also evident, right? 

Yet any number of marital examples are available of couples who claim to love each other but are anything but kind in their relationship.

And I can be so gentle in my disposition that I withhold some critical information because it is unpleasant.  Or I may be gentle with my children, but lack the fortitude to discipline effectively. That is exercising gentleness but not kindness. 

Obvious acts of kindness are changing someone’s flat tire or mowing their lawn or bringing them food. 

But kindness doesn’t always look loving.

Sometimes kindness is difficult for the bestower and/or the bestowee. 

  • Samuel repeatedly calling King Saul back to obedience to God (1 Samuel 15). A call the king eventually ignored; a rather unpleasant task for the prophet.
  • The prophet Elisha telling Naaman to wash in the Jordan River (2 Kings 5). Apparently the river wasn’t up to Naaman’s standards for bath water.
  • Mordecai exhorting Queen Esther to approach King Xerxes (Esther 4). It could have cost the queen her life.
  • Jesus Christ extolling us to die to ourselves and give up some of our safety and comfort to follow Him. Following Jesus is not always humanly pleasurable.
  • A mother disciplining her child. It is often hard on both mother and child. 

Photo by picdrome via Wikimedia Commons.

Defined in this way then, kindness is being helpful in doing what is right for someone, even if it might be unpleasant or difficult to one or both of the parties.

Kindness doesn't always look loving. Sometimes it's difficult for the bestower and/or the bestowee. Share on X

Kindness isn’t usually the attribute we think of first when considering the fruits of the spirit, but it is an important one.

The fruit of kindness often leaves a powerful mark on another’s life and may birth other fruits in the recipient.

That is indeed worth cultivating.

Kindness often leaves a powerful mark on another's life and may birth other fruits in the recipient. Share on X

“Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)

Reflections: What is your definition of the fruit of kindness? Please share in the comments. 

Linking with Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience in 2013 for my Joy Dare list  for Multitude Mondays (#1578–1598, read them all by clicking here):

  • Rachel singing high & low scales—no kidding!; My youngest cracking me up with his antics; Game time w/ long, lost son!
  • Strawberry-Nutella smoothie; Months-old baby blanket completed; Deer, many still carrying their unborn, grazing off deck
  • Talking w/ my son as one adult to another; Full moon encouragement on a “stretched” day; The power of words to uplift
  • Comment tonight about how much of a blessing Rach is to our church; Potato bar; Trickling and tinkling of spring runoff
  • Holy week church services; Spending time with hubby’s mom; Cutting a channel through ice to drain the “pool” fm the yard
  • News of another precious life to be born in our extended family; Family HIStory; Sister-in-laws’ love and laughter
  • Salvation for me through the death & resurrection of Jesus Christ; Cousins reconnecting; Mom & Dad home after 4 months

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Also linking with the following wonderful sites:

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By His Grace,



  1. Rachel Wojnarowski on April 1, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    What an interesting perspective! I haven’t really thought about why kindness is listed as a separate fruit and you gave me some things to think about! Thank you.

    • Julie Sunne on April 1, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      Me neither, Rachel, until I begin to study kindness as a fruit. Such depth in Scripture.

  2. Mary on April 3, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Hadn’t thought of kindness in that way before, but it is so true. Sometime the kindest thing you can do for a person is apply discipline and reproof. Done in love with the purpose to correct can be the nicest thing we can do for someone.

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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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