“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” ~ Ephesians 4:32
Ephesians 4:17-32 goes into great detail on how we, as children of God, should live. And at the very end of this passage Paul reminds us of what our attitude and mind-set should be towards each other.
We are to be kind. Kindness is an unselfish concern for the well-being of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. It is to be helpful to them even at great sacrifice for ourselves if need be. There is a big lack of kindness in our world today, and sad to say even among believers, the self-centeredness of this world has seeped into the church and caused much unrest in the family of God in the process!
Truly, satan loves nothing more than to come between Christians and cause division in the body of Christ. We must be ever vigilant to be on our guard and stop him in his tracks by being kind to all.
We are to be compassionate or tenderhearted. This is a sympathetic and affectionate willingness to bear the burdens of those in the family of God. When we are aware of a certain burden that one is experiencing we are to show them that we care. This may be played out in a number of ways:
- If there is one who is mourning, we are to mourn with them (Romans 12:15).
- If there is a widow who is feeling lonely, pay her a visit or take her out to lunch or supper.
- If a child just needs someone to throw a ball around with, be that person who steps up and plays with him for a while.
There are so very many ways that we can show compassion to people if get our eyes off ourselves and look around!
We are to be forgiving. This is quite possibly the hardest of those mentioned in our verse today. Human nature is not forgiving! But as children of God, we are called to be forgiving many times throughout the Word of God. The indwelling Holy Spirit has to be where we get the power that enables us to forgive those who have wronged us, even before they ask for forgiveness.
Some may never even admit they have anything to be forgiven for, but we are instructed by God to forgive them anyway!
This is a struggle isn’t it? There is something in our natures that just loves to seek ‘justice’ for ourselves; but we must obey God and let Him take care of those who have wronged us. As it says in Romans 12:18-19:
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” ~ Romans 12:18-19
When we forgive, we release the offense done to us, and turn it over to God to be dealt with in His way and in His time! No longer can the wrong done to us poison us from the inside with anger and revenge because we have totally given it over to God and freed ourselves through His almighty power! And really, isn’t that better than stewing in anger towards anyone?
Thank You Father God for loving me, for dying for me, and for never leaving me. Help me to show Your love to others by being kind, compassionate and most of all forgiving. I love You my Redeemer, my Lord, and my God, and I give You praise this day!
Contributed by Mary Heuss Nelson