BE KIND; TENDERHEARTED
FRIDAY 24 JUNE 2022 Acting on today's topic will always position us to enjoy the abundance of every spiritual blessing in Christ. As Christians, we are to be kind, which suggests that godly affection must never be extinguished; rather we should discover the functions of being tenderhearted and refuse to engage any demand or desire that encourages revolting bitterness, where anger, slander, jealously and malice thrive.
Reference: Ephesians 4:32 English Standard Version (ESV) "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
In today's Scripture, there are two important instructions given to the Christians in Ephesus. The first one is to express kindness to fellow Christians; second one is to forgive one another. So firstly, what is being kind to others, tenderhearted? Tenderheartedness is our sentimental, inherent nature in Christ and kindness is the byproduct of tenderheartedness. To expound this truth, now watch this: Galatians 5:22 reads, "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness" (NLT). Did you notice that kindness is a fruit? It is simply the fruit of a dimension of the divine nature in us, known as tenderheartedness. So what Paul is saying here is "produce the fruit of being tenderhearted, which is kindness; don't be hardened or ungiving. In another way, put tenderness to work!
Kindness is the virtue of demonstrating friendly, generous, and considerate qualities. It is being sympathetic, soft-hearted, affectionate and charitable to others. People who are terribly unkind can be hostile or antagonistic but being tenderhearted diminishes all the acts of hostility and delivers unselfish devotion to God and caring response to man. Since, this virtue is considered as the power to accomplish the gesture of goodwill in the lives of others, then be kind to others, according to Pauline instruction.
Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV) reads, "Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind." Here as well, Paul urges the Philippian Christians to look out for the interests of other Christians through sharing encouragement and comforting one another; being gentle and showing godly affection to one another - as those who are one in spirit and are of one mind.
The second instruction is all about "forgiving one another." Gracefully, the apostle gave us a model or pattern for this instruction - "As God forgave you in Christ." It's only by receiving God's grace for forgiveness will a person come to trust in God's propitiation in Christ and be saved from the penalty of their sin. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross was the once-for-all payment for the whole world, which remitted everyone's sins and wrongdoings. Moreover, the effective application of the finished work of Christ on the cross requires God's grace to bring a man or woman to receive the remission of their sins and put their faith in Christ; otherwise they will remain eternally condemned (Ephesians 1:7 ESV).
Forgiveness, on the other hand, is the ongoing, practical manifestation of the life flowing from our union with Christ. By this I mean that Paul was addressing the saints with instructions for Christian living, not unbelievers. So this emphasis clarifies that forgiveness is a continual practice for those who belong to the Kingdom of God. Therefore, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Shalom!
Scripture Reading - Matthew 26:28; Acts 28:2; Galatians 5:13; Colossians 3:12-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:2.
Guided Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I honour you today, affirming that you always reward my continual effort in being kind to others, according to your grace and the ability of the Spirit. The instruction to be kind to one another, tenderhearted and to forgive others, which is based on the Word, always provides me with manifold blessing in Christ. Hence, I'm thankful for the continuity in any kind of practice that grants me increasing power in all acts of compassion, in Jesus' Name, Amen!