How is the previous fruit of kindness different from goodness? A person who is kind does good things, and a good person does kind deeds. Since Galatians 5:22 lists each separately, I knew there had to be some distinction. In researching these words I learned that kindness is defined by giving and generosity. Goodness is linked more to doing the right thing in any circumstance.
A question to answer is, what distinguishes a person who shows goodness as a fruit of the Spirit from people who exhibit goodness but do not have the Spirit within them, like a non-Christian? A basic premise to that question is that goodness, like all the other fruits, does not come naturally, as the following verses indicate.
It is against human nature to want to “overcome evil with good”(Romans 12:21). That is a tough pill to swallow, isn’t it! That takes divine grace. Too often people want revenge. This verse says to make something good out of evil. It requires trusting God at times to do the right thing (Psalm 37:3). Faith may be required to exercise goodness in the midst of difficult circumstances, or when a person does not know the outcome of a decision. It takes courage to do what is right when no one else is. 1 Peter 4:19 is a reminder that God will be faithful if one does the right thing in the midst of persecution or discrimination like people are going through now with government restrictions.
There are times when we may feel like giving up doing good because it seems like evil, injustice, and moral decay, are gaining the upper hand. However, Galatians 6:9 tells us “let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.” Mother Teresa once said, “I must be willing to do whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts.”
Goodness as a fruit of the Holy Spirit brings light to a spiritually darkened and unredeemed world. The contrast is expressed in Matthew 5:16. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
As Christians seek to become more Godly through prayer, meditation, and reading the Bible, the Holy Spirit will work in lives to bear fruits. Goodness can come out of adversity. Continual spiritual maturity is like “a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season”(Psalm 1:3).