An autistic person’s guide to the fruit of the Spirit
Part 5: Kindness
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Kindness: The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.
Kindness starts with caring—being tenderhearted and compassionate toward others.
When I started writing this blog on January 3rd @NeuroRebel published this on Twitter:
#actuallyautistic #AskingAutistics – what do you think is the most common misconception about autistic people?
These were among the replies:
- The empathy thing.
- Autistic people lack empathy.
- Lack of empathy / emotional coldness.
- That we are unfeeling robots when in fact many are empaths.
- Lack of empathy, all male.
- We can’t be empathetic and we can’t be in love
- That a deficit in empathy somehow means a lack of compassion or even human emotion.
Over a third of all replies by autistic people felt that people thought wrongly that we do not have empathy. How can we be good if we do not empathise? This is one of the big lies out there about autistic people, that we cannot empathise.
We do empathise, but our brains are wired differently so we empathise differently, the problem is double empathy: when people with very different experiences of the world interact with one another, they will struggle to empathise with each other. There is no reason why autistic people cannot be as kind as anyone else.
In a 2003 study of 37 cultures around the world, 16,000 subjects were asked about their most desired traits in a mate. For both sexes, the first preference was kindness! (Source ucg.org)
Everyone desires kindness, but not everyone is kind. In business it is said that in a dog eat dog world the one who succeeds was the one who took the biggest bites, I have seen a person going for a promotion in a company I worked for spend more time in belittling his rivals than he did in being positive. He got the job. When it comes to getting on in the world, kindness is synonymous with weakness.
That is not how it works in God’s kingdom. The fruit of the Spirit are facets of the character of God. As we grow more Godlike we become like God. One aspect of this is we become kinder. God, the maker and sustainer of the universe is not weak, but he is kind.
Kindness is not something we feel, it’s something we do. We learn how to be kind by being kind. Especially to those who have become embittered by the world, those are estranged, even–I dare to say this–even to those who are unthankful. Gods lovingkindness is to all, not just to those who say ‘Thank you.’ So should ours be.