The fruit of the Spirit KINDNESS includes a Jesus-centered devotional you can use in a lesson, as well as a full “fruit of the Spirit: kindness” lesson plan with a game, coloring page and other activities.
The Fruit of the Spirit is KINDNESS: a devotional
A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said.Luke 7:12–13 NLT
Imagine something really awful happening to your best friend. What is awful enough to make your friend cry all day? (Remember, it’s not actually going to happen, we’re just imagining.) Maybe their dog got run over, or their parents got divorced. You might be feeling really bad right now, because you don’t want that awful thing to happen to them. In fact, you might even be feeling a bit sick. Ugh, what a miserable feeling!
Do you know what that feeling is called? It’s compassion. Having compassion on someone means that you feel really, really, really bad for someone. Sometimes we use the word “gut-wrenching” for this feeling because it makes you feel kind of sick to your stomach.
Now that you have an idea of what gut-wrenching compassion feels like, you know how Jesus felt when he met the funeral party. In the verse we just read, the phrase “overflowed with compassion” comes from the hard-to-pronounce Greek word splagchnizomai (splawnk-NITZ-oh-my). Try saying that three times, fast!
This word is sometimes translated “compassion”, or “had pity”, but it all comes from the Greek word which means “he felt it in his guts”. Sounds gross, right?
When Jesus came upon that funeral party he didn’t say “oh, that’s so sad”. Instead, he felt that sick feeling in his stomach. He knew the woman had no hope for her future now that her husband and son were dead. No one feels gut-wrenching compassion quite like Jesus.
That’s what true kindness is all about.
You might think kindness is just about “being nice”, but that’s not where it starts. True kindness is about letting yourself feel that same kind of painful sympathy that Jesus felt, and then doing something about the problem. That’s what Jesus did. He felt her pain, then fixed it by raising her son from the dead!
Of course we can’t raise someone from the dead, and it sometimes feels like you can’t do anything about the things that are wrong in this world.
The first thing to do is to ask God to help you feel his compassion for the person.
When you feel true compassion, God will show you what to do next. He might ask you to hug a friend, or make some cookies for a neighbor . . . even just sit quietly with someone who’s sad. Through Jesus, you have the power to bring life-changing kindness to your world.
A fruit of the Spirit: KINDNESS lesson plan for children
Use this fruit of the Spirit: KINDNESS lesson plan for Sunday School or at home!
ASK: What is the saddest thing that has ever happened to you or someone you know?
After children give their answers, SAY: Today we’ll see what Jesus did when someone was having the worst day ever.
2. The Fruit of the Spirit KINDNESS LESSON:
Help children look up and read Luke 7:12-13, then share the above devotional on the fruit of the Spirit KINDNESS.
After, ASK: When you think about how God feels about you, what feelings do you normally think of? Is there someone you feel compassion for today? How could your feelings of compassion lead to an act of kindness?
*Remind kids that kindness grows when we get closer to Jesus and let ourselves feel his compassion for others, not just by trying harder to be nice.
Thank you Jesus for your gut-wrenching compassion for us. Please fill us with that same compassion for others and show us how to turn that compassion into kindness. Amen.
4. KINDNESS ACTIVITIES:
- Invite kids to write Ephesians 4:32 in bubble letters and post on their bedroom wall.
- Have children draw/paint a picture of someone shoing kindness. It could be a Bible story, a scene from a book, or something that happened in their life.
- Teach kids a breath prayer: As you breathe in, say “Your kindness, Lord” and as you breathe out, say “leads me to you.”
- Make up a song about God’s kindness (or put the memory verse to a tune).
- *As you share these activities, be sure to keep the conversation on the fruit of the Spirit KINDNESS gospel-based (meaning the power to grow in kindness comes from the Holy Spirit, not from a try-hard, moralistic life).
A fruit of the Spirit: KINDNESS coloring page
Download and print this entire package of fruit of the Spirit coloring pages and activities, including this KINDNESS coloring page featuring on Ephesians 4:32. This coloring page is available in 4 translations.
UnRandom Acts of Kindness Craft
Enjoy this fruit of the Spirit KINDNESS spin on the traditional “Random Acts of Kindness“!
SUPPLIES: paper bag for each child along with a variety of small toys and treats, as well as card-making supplies
SAY: Today you get to pack a bag of treats for someone in your life, but before you do, we’re going to ask God who HE wants you to give the bag to.
PRAY: God, we want to be filled with compassion like you and let it flow out as kindness toward those around us. Please help each child think of someone who needs a little extra kindness this week. Invite children to pray: “God, who do YOU want me to give this bag to?” Allow a minute of quiet. If kids aren’t sure, ask them who came to mind when they prayed.
Next, have kids pack their bags! If they’re willing, have them tell the group with whom they’ll be giving their bags. See below for the story of what happened when we did this activity!
What Happens When God Provides the Kindness
When we did this activity in our Sunday School, my son (around age 8) felt strongly that God wanted him to give his bag to the kid who’d been harassing him at school for years. At one point, this child had actually bitten my son on the playground and been suspended for it.
We prayed for courage the night before, and when he got to school, he thrust the treat bag into the child’s hands and ran away. 🤣 The teacher came to return it because she was sure this wasn’t a voluntary gift. My son assured her that it was a gift for the other child.
In an interesting turn of events, this child completely stopped harassing my son after this. It often comes up as what can happen when we ask God for eyes to see those around us who might need some extra kindness.