My dad loved to tell the story about a time I, as a young child, disobeyed him. (I know, hard to believe) The story goes that as he was taking off his belt to swat my behind, I began to sing a little chorus I had learned in Sunday School. It goes like this:
Be ye kind, be ye kind, be ye kind to one another.
Dad said he couldn’t help but laugh, and put his belt back on.
Paul tells us to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving, “even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
Kindness isn’t something we do to get out of trouble. Tenderheartedness isn’t something we do to get attention. And forgiving someone isn’t always easy.
Kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness aren’t only things we do, but rather things we are in Christ. I didn’t say tolerant. I didn’t say to ignore sin or allow yourself to be abused. But kindness should be evident in our dealings with others regardless of the situation. Our tender hearts should recognize pain, or grief, or anxiousness in others and encourage us to reach out to them. And certainly our lives should be lived in an attitude of forgiveness, knowing how much God has forgiven us.
Our world lacks kindness, as we witness in the news every day. Many people are too self centered to have tender hearts toward another. And too many times people allow unforgiveness to fester and grow into rage.
Let’s us, as God’s children, be the change we need in our world by allowing God’s kindness, God’s tenderheartedness, and His forgiveness to be evident in us, in Jesus’ name.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Eph 4:30-32)