A few weeks ago, I heard Rick Warren interviewed on the radio program Family Life Today. He was discussing the AIDS conference that had been held at Saddleback Church, the congregation for which he preaches. During the interview, he told the story of an AIDS activist who hated Christianity. Rick got to know the man, apologized for the mistreatment that the man had suffered from people who claimed to follow Jesus, and became a friend. They worked together on behalf of people afflicted with AIDS. Eventually, the man became a believer. Rick Warren attributed the man's conversion to the kindness shown by followers of Christ. Then Rick quoted Romans 2:4, which reads (in the NASB), "the kindness of God leads you to repentance."
Rick Warren's testimony and Romans 2:4 stuck in my mind. I realized that a part of the fruit of the Spirit is kindness, and that God was wanting to use me and other believers as conduits of his kindness so that unbelievers could be led to repentance. I began to notice things that kept me from being kind (a defensive mindset, listening to politcal talk radio, etc.), and I began to turn away from them. I stopped looking for opportunities to argue, and started looking for ways to show kindness.
The results have been positive. I have avoided useless arguments and stress-inducing radio programs. I have found opportunites to be kind that I had overlooked in the past. These small changes have opened the door for other aspects of the fruit of the Spirit to develop (such as peace and joy). Furthermore, relationships have improved with people, which I hope will allow me more opportunites to spread the gospel of Christ with credibility.
Looking for ways to be kind for the sake of Jesus Christ has opened my eyes.