[Galatians 5: 22- 23]
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Today, I will talk about the fifth of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit, kindness.
Kindness is the quality or state of being kind.
But the spiritual meaning of kindness is somewhat closer to mercy.
And the spiritual meaning of mercy is “to understand in the truth even those who cannot be understood at all by men.”
It is also the heart that is able to forgive in the truth even those who cannot be forgiven by men.
God shows compassion towards mankind with the heart of mercy.
Psalm 130:3 says, “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O LORD, who could stand?”
As written, if God had no mercy and judged us according to justice, nobody would be able to stand before God.
But God forgave and accepted even those who can be neither forgiven nor accepted when justice is applied strictly.
In order to do that, God gave the life of His one and only Son.
God wants those who have become His children by believing in the Lord to cultivate this heart of mercy.
People usually say that they cannot understand a certain person even though they try to understand him, or they cannot forgive a certain person even though they try to forgive him.
But if we have borne the fruit of mercy in our heart, there is nothing that we cannot understand and there won’t be anybody we cannot forgive.
We will be able to understand any kind of person with goodness and accept any kind of person with love.
We would not say we like one person because of this and we don’t like another person because of that. We would not dislike nor hate anybody.
We would not have any bad terms with or hard feelings against anybody not to mention any enemies.
Just like a mother cares for her newborn baby, we would accept and embrace everybody.
Even when they have some great faults or they have committed grave sins, we will first have mercy rather than passing judgment and condemnation on them.
We would hate the sins, but not the sinner; we will understand that person and try to let him live.
For example, when her beloved son has committed murder and is hiding in the house, how would the mother feel?
She may scold him on account of having committed such a crime for she knows murder is a grave sin.
But she wouldn’t have the heart to forsake him or throw stones at him. She would not consider him to be an evil murderer.
She would have pity and try to think of the ways for him to receive forgiveness.
She would even want to receive the punishment in his place and open a way for him to live.
If we have spiritual mercy, we will understand, forgive, and embrace others with this kind of heart.
Suppose there is a child with very frail body who gets sick often. How would the mother feel towards this child?
She wouldn’t wonder why he was born like that and gives her so much difficulty. She would not hate the child because of it.
She would rather have more love and compassion towards him than other children who are healthy.
Those who have the complete fruit of the Holy Spirit would feel like this mother towards everybody, not just to certain people.
Now, let us delve into the characteristics of mercy in more detail.
First, a merciful person has no prejudice.
He will never judge or condemn anybody just by seeing the appearances.
James 2:1-4 says, “My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?
Worldly people so often judge people by appearances.
Their attitudes toward people change depending on whether or not they see them as rich and famous.
God’s children must not judge people with their appearances or change their attitudes of heart just because of appearances.
We have to consider even very little ones better than ourselves and serve them with the heart of the Lord.
Even if you think that you do not judge others according to their wealth, fame, or appearance, please check yourself once again.
Do you not have any favoritism or prejudice even spiritually?
For example, you might feel that you cannot really have a meaningful conversation with certain people because they don’t have enough spiritual understanding.
Some people have some deficiencies of body, so they may speak or do some things that are out of context in certain situations.
When you see those people, or experienced the situation, have you felt somewhat frustrated by it? Haven’t you looked down on them or wanted to avoid them to some extent?
Haven’t you made others embarrassed with your aggressive words or impolite attitudes?
Also, some people talk about and condemn another person as if they were in the seat of the judge, when that person is going through some trials of faith.
When people brought a woman who had committed adultery before Jesus, He said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
When you see a person who is receiving punishment before God, if you have the heart of mercy then you ought to have compassion for him and hope that he will overcome it well.
Second, if we are merciful, we will have compassion on those who are in difficulties and enjoy helping them.
We will not just feel pity in our heart for them and say, “Take heart and be strong!” only with our lips.
If our heart is true, we will do something to give others substantial help.
1 John 3:17-18 says, “But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
Also, James 2:15-17 says, “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”
You wouldn’t think it’s a pity that another person is starving, but you cannot really do anything because you only have just enough for yourself.
If you really feel pity with a true heart, you can give or share your portion.
This is not just concerning material things. When you see somebody who is suffering from any kind of problem, you should want to be of some help and share the pain with that person. This is mercy.
Especially, you cannot just leave those who do not believe in the Lord and are falling into hell to fall.
You will try your best to lead them to the way of salvation.
Brothers and sisters, in this church, since its opening, there have been great works of God’s power.
But I still ask for greater power and dedicate all my life to manifest that power. Do you know the reason why?
It’s because I suffered from poverty myself, and I thoroughly experienced the pain of losing hope because of diseases.
When I see those people who suffer from these problems, I feel their pain as my own pain, and I want to help them the very best I can.
It is my desire to solve their problems and rescue them from the punishments of Hell and lead them to Heaven.
But how can I help so many people alone? The answer I received to this is the power of God.
Even though I cannot solve all the problems of poverty, diseases, and so many other things of all people, I can help them meet and experience God.
That is why I am trying to manifest greater power of God so more people can meet and experience God.
Of course, showing the power is not the completion of the process of salvation.
Even though they come to have faith by seeing the power, we have to care for them physically and spiritually until they stand firmly on faith.
That is why I did my best to provide aid to the needy even when our church itself had financial difficulties so that they can march towards Heaven with more strength.
Proverbs 19:17 says, “One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed.”
If you take care of the souls with the heart of the Lord, God will certainly pay you back with His blessings.
I urge you to look around you with mercy and take care of others who are suffering from physical and spiritual pains.
Third, if we have mercy, we will not easily point our fingers at others.
Of course, if we love somebody, we sometimes have to give advice or rebuke him.
If the parents do not scold their children at all but forgive all the time just because they love their children, the children will be spoiled.
But if we have mercy, we cannot easily punish, rebuke, or point out shortcomings.
When we just give a word of advice, we will do it with prayerful mind and caring for that person’s heart.
Proverbs 12:18 says, “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Pastors and leaders in particular must keep these words in mind.
You may easily say, “You have this untruthful heart in you, and it doesn’t please God.” “You have this and this shortcoming, and you are not loved by others because of these things.”
Even if what you say is true, if you point out shortcomings within your self-righteousness or frameworks without love, it doesn’t give life.
The others will not change as a result of the advice, but their feelings will be hurt and they will become discouraged and lose strength.
Sometimes, some church members ask me to point out their shortcomings so they can realize them and change themselves.
But I cannot do that easily.
For that moment, they can accept it with thanks, but if they lose the fullness of Spirit, nobody knows what will happen in their heart.
Sometimes, I have to point out something in order to accomplish the kingdom of God or to let you receive the solution to your problem.
Even at those times, I have a really earnest heart.
I watch the mood on their faces with prayerful mind, hoping they will not be offended or discouraged.
Of course, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and scribes with strong words, though they were not able to accept His advice.
Jesus was giving them a chance so that even just one among them might listen to Him and repent.
Also, because they were the teachers of the people, Jesus wanted the people to have realization and not be deceived by their hypocrisy.
However there won’t be any occasion for me to do this with you here.
When you interact with a little one, you should not reveal his fault in a manner that offends him or causes him to stumble.
When you have to give advice because it is absolutely necessary, please do it with love, thinking from the other’s viewpoint and with care for that soul.
Fourth, if we have mercy, we will be generous to everybody.
Most people can generously give what they have to some extent to those whom they love.
Even those who are stingy can lend or give presents to others if they know they can receive back something in return.
In Luke 6:32 it says, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.”
We can bear the fruit of mercy when we can give of ourselves without wanting anything in return.
Jesus gave unlimited love even to a person like Judas Iscariot.
Jesus knew from the beginning that Judas would betray Him, but He treated him in the same way He treated the other disciples.
And He gave them many chances again and again so he could come to repentance.
Even when Jesus was being crucified, He prayed for those who were crucifying Him.
Luke 23:34 says, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
This is the mercy with which we can forgive even those who cannot be forgiven at all.
At the time of the Early Church, Stephen also had this fruit of mercy.
While he was being stoned to death by evil people, he prayed for them.
Acts 7:60 says, “Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.”
He prayed with true heart not only for those who accepted the gospel but also for those evil persons who were standing against the gospel and stoned him.
Because he had this kind of heart, he performed the power of God being just a deacon.
You have heard this kind of message many times.
Then how well have you cultivated this kind of heart?
Do you still have somebody you don’t like or somebody who is not on good terms with you? You should not stay in this stage any more.
You should be able to accept and embrace others even though your characters and opinions are not in agreement.
You should first think from that person’s viewpoint. Then, you can change the feelings.
If you just think, ‘why on earth does he do that? I just can’t understand him,’ then, you will only have hard feelings and you will have uncomfortable feelings when you see him.
But if you can think, ‘Ah, in his position he can act this way,’ then, you can change the feelings of dislike.
Now, you will rather have mercy on that person who can’t help but do that, and you will pray for him.
As you change your thoughts and feelings this way, you have to pull out the hatred and other evil feelings one by one.
If you keep the feeling that you want to insist on your stubbornness, you cannot accept others.
Neither can you pull out the hatred or hard feelings in you.
I urge you to cast away your self-righteousness and change your thoughts and feelings so that you can accept and serve any kind of person.
Fifth, if we have mercy, we can attribute the honor to others.
When something is done well, we give the honor to others, and when something goes wrong, we can accept the blame.
When the other person receives all the recognition and the other person is praised more even though you worked together, you still can rejoice with him like it was your own happiness.
You will not have any discomfort thinking you did more work and that person is praised even though he has many shortcomings.
You will only be thankful thinking that he can have more confidence and work harder after being praised by others.
You can understand this heart more easily if you think about a mother.
If the mother does something with her child, and only the child receives the reward, what would the mother feel?
There wouldn’t be any mother who would complain saying that she helped her child do the work properly and she didn’t get any reward.
Also, it is good for a mother to hear from others that she is beautiful, but she would be happier if people say her daughter is beautiful.
If we have the fruit of mercy, we can put any other person ahead of us and attribute the merit to him, not only our own children.
And we will rejoice together with him as if we ourselves were praised.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, mercy is the characteristic of God the Father who is full of compassion and love.
Not only mercy, but each of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is also the heart of the perfect God.
Love, joy, peace, patience, and all other fruits are the different aspects of God’s heart.
Therefore, to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit means we have to have the heart of God in us and be perfect as God is perfect.
The more ripened the fruits become in you, God will not be able to hold His love for you because you are so lovely.
He will rejoice over you saying you are sons and daughters who resemble Him so much.
If you become God’s children who please Him, what can be a problem in your life?
You can receive anything you ask in prayer, and even the things that you just harbor in your heart, God knows it and answers you.
I hope all of you will bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit completely and please God in all things.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will be overflowing with blessings and enjoy great honor in the kingdom of heaven as children who resemble God exactly.