Generosity is a spiritual word. It speaks of the type of relationship between a giver and a receiver.

It synthesizes the “fruit of the spirit” listed by Paul for the Galatians—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Each of Paul’s fruit contains generosity of the spirit. It is living with spiritual extravagance, giving self to others without self-centeredness, without judgmentalism, with nothing stingy or petty, nothing mean or small. Instead, a generosity of spirit reveals the dimension of our altruistic love—our willingness to give with no expectation of any kind of return compensation.

The generous person reveals a life of loving compassion, a passionate life lived with feelings of otherness. This person is genuine, caring, open and fully accepting. When approached by someone in need, his persona mirrors the affect of the petitioner and reflects the joy found in helping others. Her body signals gentleness and patience, perseverance and competence. Together, they reveal the ultimate in kindness. Their empathy establishes a depth and quality of relationship for whatever happiness or sorrow might be felt by the other. They are fully tuned to that person’s hopes and needs. They feel with the person. There is no condemnation, no criticism, no advice giving—only help is offered. The clock does not dictate the dimensions of their relationship. The generous person shares willingly and does not perceive time as a critical factor.

I believe God implanted a generous spirit in humans. Human impulses, somehow, bend in the direction of generous goodwill to others—not just in terms defined by money, but with a spirit that brings warm joy, friendship combined with helpful neighborliness.

Of course we also have free will. If we exercise this with a sense of superiority, haughtiness and negativity, the end includes only loneliness and isolation.

Paul listed the fruit of kindness fifth in his list. If circumstances arise along with your personal motivation to assume a “giver” role in building a relationship, start with a generosity of kindness. When it holds a significant place in a person’s willingness to be generous, the gift becomes much more powerful.

Kindness generates an internal warmth in the giver, a feeling of joy and is offered without judgment or inquisition. It is a completely positive human act designed to allow one person to be helpful to another. Sometimes, it involves simply listening. On other occasions, it might be more complicated as the helper assists in sorting through the complications. Once in awhile, the petitioner, acting in pain, may want to bring you into an argument. In this case be understanding and accepting of the person, but do not be drawn into the conflict. Ask the person to try to reopen lines of communication.

Musch is required of us in seeking to be generous as we struggle to maintain a life of faithfulness—faithful to an ethic, a belief system we live; a belief that all humans have worth, that a non-imposing God is available, that his son, Jesus, came to earth to reveal in human form the dimensions of God’s love and to provide us an avenue to redemption. This requires knowledge of the principles of the ethic of Christ as reflected in our behavior. It demands a consistency in revealing the principles of that ethic. They are not simply spoken with words. Let it be transmitted nonverbally from the depth of your soul.

Faithfulness means fidelity, loyalty, being steadfast in our allegiance, conscientious, reliable. It means we keep promises as covenants with God.