June 8, 2015 – The Fruit of Kindness

There are two situations in my personal life, very similar,  that create turmoil in my heart.  I am divided between loving and supporting those within the situations and anger toward those willfully choosing the situation.  I so want to separate myself emotionally from those involved.  Even as I write this, the sin in my heart seems so obvious, doesn’t it?

Yet, how often do most of us think, “Well they are really breaking God’s commandments and if I support them in this, then it seems as if I approve of the sin in which they are involved”?   If we’re all honest with ourselves, we all have had thoughts like this because we know that God can’t and doesn’t tolerate sin.  We then stand in the place of conviction instead of allowing the Spirit of God to do its work. 

I have asked for guidance from believers older, wiser, and more experienced in life than I am and they understand this struggle all too well.  Their advice is to continue to love those involved in the sin and separation from God even though it’s the hardest situation I will ever love someone through.  Through – from this point until it’s completed!  After all, am I not to behave as an ambassador, a person who brings reconciliation with God through Yeshua to my friends, family, and ultimately, the world?  How can I bring people together with God, make an appeal for Him, when I’m separating myself?  

“Therefore we are ambassadors of the Messiah; in effect, God is making his appeal through us. What we do is appeal on behalf of the Messiah, “Be reconciled to God!  God made this sinless man be a sin offering on our behalf, so that in union with him we might fully share in God’s righteousness” (2 Corinthians 5:20-21). 

On Sabbath my husband and I were watching ‘Prophecies of the Prophets’ by Mark Biltz and in discussing some of the letters written between Babylon and Jerusalem,  he said that God’s kindness is what leads people to repentance not his wrath.  That one sentence held the words of wisdom for which I had been searching for nearly two years.  It’s God’s kindness that leads people to repentance not his wrath.

“Or perhaps you despise the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience; because you don’t realize that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to turn from your sins” (Romans 2:1-4).

Do I despise the riches of God’s kindness?  Do I despise His long-suffering with me?  Do I despise the restraint He had with me?  Apparently so.  What a repulsive thought. 

I always try to be kind with ‘strangers’  who disagree with our walk of faith, trying to teach and encourage spiritual growth, but when it comes to this very personal situation, I’m not so loving and kind.   I know what iniquity lurks in my heart and sometimes it even slowly (and sometimes not so slowly) oozes out in my conversations.  For some reason I believe that MY snide comments will somehow convict and change their heart and mind. 

Years ago I was taught that love, joy and peace exemplified our love relationship with God our Father; faithfulness, gentleness and self-control exemplified our love relationship with ourselves.  It is patience, kindness and goodness that are to exemplify our love relationship with others.  Apparently, I’m lacking some spiritual fruit when it comes to others.  How easy is this to acknowledge when we are to be walking by faith and producing spiritual fruit?! 

This morning I was reading about a little encounter between a Christian woman and a man.  Though the woman obviously cared about the man,  it was apparent she did not understand why he walked in obedience to the commandments.  She believed he had fallen from grace and was not saved.  She wanted to set him straight that he might return to God.   What the man’s words in response wasn’t as important as to how the ‘gentle’man responded: with kindness. 

How many of us in the Messianic faith have had that same discussion with someone who cares about us, but is Scripturally misguided?  How many of us react in judgmental wrath rather than kindness and then wonder why there’s no change of heart or we lose that relationship?  

The most important concept in Scripture is being reconciled to God.   Once reconciled we are adopted into His family.  Adoption is also represented by the picture of a wild olive branch being grafted into the Olive Tree of Israel along with the natural branches.   This grafting in  is a precept that many in the modern church are not taught to completely understand, and when they observe it, find it confusing and difficult to embrace.  Yet, it is within the verses of Romans 11 about this unique tree that there is a warning for the wild olives who want to beat the unripe olive off the tree so it dies rotting on the ground.  

“So take a good look at God’s kindness and his severity: on the one hand, severity toward those who fell off; but, on the other hand, God’s kindness toward you — provided you maintain yourself in that kindness! Otherwise, you too will be cut off!” (Romans 11:22).

God’s kindness brought me to repentance.  His kindness within me by His Spirit will bring others to repentance if I allow that fruit to flow.    If it is my desire to remain on that Olive Tree and have a righteous walk with God, then His fruit of kindness needs to be exemplified in my life at all times with all people whether they are natural olives, wild olives, or just plain ole unripe olives.  Instead of plucking them off the tree and separating them from myself because I believing they are ‘fruitless’,  I needs God’s strength to be faithful and kind with each step He puts in front of me –  especially in these deeply personal situations.  

 If you are reading this and have ever had the same conflict, please pray for me as I begin to walk through this difficult situation with the Spirit of God and His kindness.     

“The heart’s real intentions are like deep water;  but a person with discernment draws them out. Most people announce that they show kindness, but who can find someone faithful [enough to do it]? The righteous live a life of integrity;  happy are their children after them” (Proverbs 20:5-7). 

©2015 Tent Stake Ministries

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