What the Deaf Can Hear and the Blind Can See

As a series of words, the “fruits of the spirit” – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, etc. are ones that we hear, and use, so frequently, that they sometimes become placeholders in prayer and conversation, and we tend to forget the depth and meaning contained within them (or at least I do).

As an English professor, I constantly encourage my students to use words that are more descriptive – for example, instead of telling me that a person is kind, describe what kindness “looks” like, or rather than just saying one is filled with joy, tell me (or show me) how that feels.

The word “kindness” I find especially non-specific, so I took time this week to reflect and search for its deeper significance.

In the Bible, the authors point to sunshine, rain, and other natural resources for sustainability as signs of God’s “kindness.” Then, during Jesus’ day, his “kindness” manifests as grace, mercy, and love.

Since then, the energy here on earth (the Holy Spirit), inspires kindness to others through action. It is not enough to think good thoughts. We must be “doing,” or practicing karma.

Essentially, kindness can be perceived as goodness “in action,” not just a thought, but self-sacrificial behavior that benefits others. So, how do we produce that kind of fruit? What changes does that mean in our own lives?

In the book of Colossians, Paul tells us to “put on — compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” So perhaps, even when we may not necessarily be feeling very kind or humble, we can still move forward toward a place of authenticity — exuding the energy of God through our thoughts, actions, and deeds.

As a believer that God is universal in his revelation and relationship with humanity, the call to manifest the fruits of the spirit “within me” is an exercise in humility, each and every time.

Just as the Supreme Being (God) continues to exhibit kindness through sustainability and providence, Jesus models it through intangibles like mercy and grace.

This type of connectedness and understanding of the universe helps us to reach out to one another with a deepened awareness of what kindness “is” and “can be” in our lives — benevolence, charity, philanthropy, hospitality, altruism, sympathy, tolerance, graciousness, tact, generosity, consideration, selflessness, and the multitude of other ways that makes kindness a life-affirming habit, constantly defining itself through ACTION.

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
Mark Twain