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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Be Kind

Photo: Serge Bertasius Photography

I’d like to share a Bible verse with you. It’s one that could revolutionize your life.

And be ye kind one to another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
(Ephesians 4:32)

Let’s explore this verse by looking at one part at a time.

Be ye kindKindness is by definition “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” Some synonyms for kindness are: goodwill, helpfulness, thoughtfulness, courteous, graciousness, and mercifulness.

One to another—We’re supposed to be kind, act friendly, generously, and considerately to other people. In our family, we used to misquote this verse, according to the need of the moment. For example, “Be ye kind one to your brother (sister, mother, etc.).” The kids would laugh, but they’d get the point.

Tenderhearted—This word means “compassionate.” Remember how Jesus had compassion on the multitudes? Compassion and a tender heart are by-products of love.

Forgiving one another—When Jesus instructed the disciples to forgive, He made some interesting statements:
  • Don’t give an offering without forgiving first (Matthew 5:23-24; Mark 11:25)
  • God forgives us when we forgive others (Matthew 6:12, 14-15; Mark 11:25-26; Luke 6:37; 11:4)
  • Forgive seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22)
  • God will hold people accountable for not showing forgiveness. (Matthew 18:34-35)
  • Forgive when people ask for forgiveness (Luke 17:3-4)

And now, the most important part: even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you—How did God forgive you?
  • Completely (Colossians 2:13)
  • Willingly (John 3:16; Galatians 2:20)
  • Freely (Romans 3:24; Revelation 21:6, 22:17)

Let’s make this practical. The qualities of kindness (friendly, generous, and considerate) should be shared between born-again Christians and all people. We should be compassionate and forgiving. Our motivation is what Christ did for us—the way He forgave our sins and wiped the slate clean with His blood. This is what it means to live like a Christian.

Do you remember the first-century Christians? People could tell they’d been with Jesus. I wonder if that’s true of us. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

So how do we evidence Jesus in us? How do we show the gospel?
  • By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:35).
  • Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently (1 Peter 1:22).
  • Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous (1 Peter 3:8).
  • We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. . . . Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (1 John 3:14, 16).

And be ye kind one to another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
(Ephesians 4:32)

Let’s be kind!

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