S212P5 – Bad fruit: the inconsiderate heart

Gal. 5:19-23

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

He was a jovial sort of guy who always liked to have a good time and be the center of attention.  At first, his friends thought he was just a lot of fun.  It did not matter where they went or what they did, he kept them laughing and smiling.  As time went on, that loud and in-your-face personality started to be a little too much.  What was once amusing seemed to be bordering on controlling.  They went wherever he decided to go.  They did whatever he decided to do.  Even decisions like where to eat dinner were always his.  It became clear that the nice guy they thought was so much fun was not actually their friend.  He was only taking them along for the ride, but he was the one in the driver’s seat.

When we think of the antithesis of kindness, we might think of someone who is just plain mean.  Even the smallest of children can distinguish when a person’s actions or words are meant to be unkind.  However, that is not the only way that unkindness surfaces.  The thing is, kindness is driven by the consideration of the recipient.  We do kind things and say kind words because we care about how others feel.  The opposite of this is a life which is self-centered in its motivation.  This type of behavior is not always seen as mean because it can be disguised by a good personality, but the giveaway is a need for control.  The unkind heart is self-serving and unconcerned with the needs or wants of others.

For the Christian, exhibiting kindness that focuses on others instead of on the self is a testament to our faith that God has us taken care of.  If I can depend on God for everything I need, then my focus can be on meeting the needs of others, which includes emotional needs.  The inconsiderate heart sacrifices others for its own benefit.  The kind heart sacrifices itself for the benefit of others.  This can be a grand and noticeable gesture, or it can be simply putting another’s small need first.  We please the Father when we take a step back from the forefront for the sake of others.  Father, teach us how to step aside and put others first the way You put us first when You sent your Son to save us.