Chrestotes is goodness in action. Meeting needs. Sharing. Benevolence. It is a selfless act that expects nothing in return. The person with chrestotes looks for needs and helps to fill them. And he does it with a gentle spirit and a gracious disposition.
The fake version of chrestotes is manipulative or self righteous good deeds. Being kind just to be noticed. Or sharing just so that others will reciprocate- “you owe me one.”
The opposite of chrestotes is envy. An inability to rejoice with others.
Jesus himself IS kindness. He is God’s kindness in the flesh.
Titus 3:4-7. But when the kindness [chrestotes] of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
God’s kindness brought us salvation. God’s kindness was manifest in the person and work of Christ. Because of God’s desire to meet the ultimate need in our lives, and I mean actually physically meet that need, he died for us, washed and renewed us through the Spirit, justified us, and made us heirs. When God is kind he goes all the way!
God’s kindness also produces our repentance.
Romans 2:4. Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness [chrestotes] and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness [chrestos] is meant to lead you to repentance?
How do we try to bring repentance and change in our relationships? Is it through kindness? Or is it through the “silent treatment,” or vengeance? How often do we try kindness as a way of producing repentance? Is this why Paul tells us to clothe ourselves in kindness? Because it will produce change in others?
Colossians 3:12. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness [chrestotes], humility, meekness, and patience,
The indwelling life of Christ produces love, joy, peace, patience and kindness. The fruit (singular) are all flowing from the same life source and love of Christ. You can’t claim to have love and then be void of kindness. No kindness, no love. No love? Well, are you letting yourself be loved? Are you soaking in the love of God for you- the love that saved and washed, and regenerated you? (see Titus 3:4-7 again).
The more we trust God’s love and kindness for us, now his kindness will be manifested in us. “To live is Christ” means that we now are the living, breathing, walking kindness of God. With a tender hearts and hands ready to meet needs, we move forward as the body of Christ. Our union with Christ empowers what it demands. It guarantees God’s kindness in our lives, so that we can display God’s kindness through our lives.
Have you experienced the kindness of God? Was your answer to that question connected to the cross? Are you displaying the kindness of Christ in both attitude and action? Is your kindness empowered by Christ’s love? If not, why is it important that love be the motivation for your kindness?