Today, I want to briefly finish up our Transformers series about the transforming power of the spiritual gifts. Just as my fictional childhood heroes, The Transformers, could transform from robots into cars, the Holy Spirit transforms us when we trust Jesus Christ and follow Him as Lord. The Spirit makes us a new creation. We die to our old sinful ways of living and we become new people. And the Holy Spirit gives each of us a special ability that we can use to serve and help transform the world. Listen to the Word of God.
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Kindness. You probably know what it means to be kind. But I want you to understand more specifically what this gift of kindness is, from the biblical perspective. When I think of kindness, I think of a sweet, friendly person who is very nice. But Paul has something deeper in mind when he says the Holy Spirit gives some people the spiritual gift of kindness. The word Paul uses for kindness in Romans 12:8 is eleeo and it means divine compassionate mercy.
Eleeo, the Greek word for kindness, is used in other places in the Scriptures. It's almost always translated mercy and used to describe the mercy Jesus shows people by healing and forgiving sins. For instance, in Matthew 9:27, two blind men begged Jesus to heal them crying, “Son of David, have mercy on us.” And because of their faith, Jesus healed them. And it is used in Romans 11 to describe how God has mercy on all people who repent, forgiving their sins and welcoming them as His very own people.
All Christians are to be kind—showing divine, compassionate mercy. Jesus has been so merciful to us! In divine mercy, He laid down His life on the cross that our sins can be forgiven and we can make a brand-new start and inherit eternal life as daughters and sons of God. In turn, shouldn’t we also show compassionate mercy to others?
We should all be kind. However, the Holy Spirit supernaturally enables some believers with the ability to feel and understand the tormented suffering of others so that they can offer God merciful kindness. When others suffer physical, mental, emotional, social, or spiritual distress, people with the gift of kindness are like the hands of Jesus bringing forgiveness, healing relief, and hope for a better tomorrow. They have the extraordinary ability to sympathize with those who are suffering. They often cry with others and feel compelled to share in their pain. Their heart forces me to console them and help them find relief. People with the gift of kindness show mercy willingly and cheerfully. They are glad to do it just as Jesus was glad to pay the ransom for our sins.
Has the Holy Spirit enabled you with the spiritual gift of kindness? How could you use it to help His Church transform the world?
Let me end with one more Scripture. This time from Ephesians 4:31-32.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Now, go out and show kindness--the divine, comppasionate mercy of God--to one another.