|OUR CONDUCT TOWARD OTHERS|
Bible Reading: Romans 12:9-21
|The second triplet in those verses on the fruit of the Spirit covers our outward conduct toward others. The words are “patience, kindness, and goodness”. The word used here for patience means to be patient with people. It is easier at times to be patient with mechanical objects than to be patient with other people. The Holy Spirit residing in us can develop patience in us if we allow Him. We may not like the way He wants to do it but He will give us the grace to face any situation or person where patience is needed.
Kindness and goodness are words with similar meanings. They could be translated as thoughtfulness. Kindness is often linked with generosity. Thoughtfulness is goodness in action, tenderness, and compassion. It is sympathetic and supportive of others.
Our Lord showed kindness to many while He was here on earth. Even children recognised this and were never afraid to approach Him or sit on His knee. He was thoughtful of His mother even while hanging on the cross. A kind person is thoughtful of the needs of others.
The opposite of these words could be harshness, criticism, lack of love, aggression, being hard on those who fail or do not agree with us. Surely none of those attitudes could ever reveal Christ in our lives. Proverbs 14:4 in the GNB says, “Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush the spirit.”
Take time to look again at the phrases or commands written here in this chapter of Romans. They cover so much of our behaviour toward others. There are almost 30 direct statements, depending on how you count them. Ask God today to help you look at your own life in the light of this passage. Are there areas which need to be changed? Are there those which need to be developed? One of our purposes in reading the Word of God is right here, that our lives might be transformed by the truth. Pray that it may be so.