“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” St. Paul the Apostle
I trust you had a great weekend? Last week, we looked at character in the nutshell using Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatian church as our template. We dealt with the first three in love, joy and peace which speaks of our attitude.
The second triad we will look at deals with social relationships. In the last year and half, I have personally been studying on emotional intelligence. It is a skill I really want to be great and adept at. Looking at these three shades and applying it to our lives personally can help at that.
4. Long-suffering- long-suffering in a biblical context means long tempered. It speaks of the ability to patiently forbear without cracking up in relation to an unpleasant circumstance meted out to you. It also talks in regards to dealing with difficult people. My mother comes to mind as I write. She embodies this quality. Long-suffering means I will weigh the consequences of my actions and speech when I am under pressure. This trait helps you respond rather than react. A response is premeditated, calculated and well thought out, whereas a reaction is impulsive and off the handle based on your current feeling at that particular moment. One practical way that will enhance this trait is learning to take your time, and make it a habit not to follow your emotion but your head in those times.
5. Kindness- this has more to do with your disposition or nature. The Greek meaning of this word conveys having a benign manner. Benign can be used adjectively which means kind, warm-hearted, good-natured, warm, friendly and the like. Kindness here is also defined as moral goodness. We start relationships on a kind note and sustain the relationships on that. Most kind people have very long-standing relationships. In this day and age of social media, most relationships are fickle like a fake dollar bill. The ingredient of kindness is a missing trait and a rarity hence the disintegration of all relationships from personal to corporate ones, and even to marital ones. Kindness means I think good of and about you, that is, I will give you the benefit of the doubt before jumping into conclusions. One type of strong people I know are kind people. They don’t easily give in to gossip or contribute to that. The world will be a better place when kindness comes back to the fray.
6. Goodness- you can’t be good without having a kind nature. They work hand in hand. The fruit of kindness shows in your goodness. How do I define goodness then? Kindness in action! I have heard people say, “I wanna be good!”. The better way should be, you want to be kind. It is then out of kindness, that goodness will emanate from. Goodness is second nature to kindness, and focuses more on our acts and actions.
I will suggest read books on emotional intelligence and take tests which are available on the internet. Most are free. They will help gauge where you are in relation to these three and start to work your way up. They have many practical ways that can enhance these traits. As a Christian, I also believe prayer can help and goes a long way in the development of these aforementioned.
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Till I come your way again…
Peace & Love