VOW: Be Kind

Verse of the Week

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

As a child, this is one of the first verses I ever memorized.

When my son was a baby, I became involved in MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers), International at my church because my best friend was the leader of our local chapter. In one of the meetings, the wife of our pastor spoke. Two things she shared that day have stuck with me. The first was regarding how to pray for our children. She encouraged us to pray that God would prepare them for the things that He had prepared for them. I still pray that for my children, though they are grown now. The second was for us to be the kindest person that our children know.

I wish I could say that I always accomplished that second admonition, but I know that I fell short at times. Many times.

I was thinking as I prepared to write about this verse that if all the things that God asks of us in His word were easy and always our nature to do, He would not have had to tell us in the Bible to do them. He knows that our fleshly nature tends toward selfishness. He knows we can get demanding, irritable, and even downright rude when we don’t get our way. Kindness sometimes comes naturally to us, but there are those times when, well, not so much.

Our verse in Ephesians also tells us to be tenderhearted and forgiving to one another. The implication here is that there will be things to forgive. Like someone being unkind, perhaps?

The reason for us to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving is because God forgave us for Christ’s sake. He forgives us because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. The price Jesus paid was so high, that the Father will forgive us for even the worst of sins. Because we have been forgiven much, we must forgive much. Because of the great compassion of our Savior for us, we must show great compassion.

Our Savior, Teacher, and Friend exemplifies kindness, compassion and forgiveness, and He calls us to do the same. If we are truly His disciples we are to walk in the manner He walked. We are to walk in His footsteps. A disciple is supposed to stay so close to his teacher that he becomes like him. As disciples of Jesus, we are to carry what He teaches us to the world, and to look so much like Him that when others see us they see Jesus.

We seem to be living in a culture of unkindness right now where taking offense is the go-to stance. Where looking with kindness, compassion or forgiveness on those with a different perspective can get you castigated and cancelled. Where social media is rife with rudeness and unkind words.

How do we, as the Church, counter this? Living out Ephesians 4:32 is a great place to start. By doing this, we will show Jesus to an angry and unforgiving world.

Will this always be easy? No. As long as we inhabit our yet-to-be-redeemed human bodies, we must fight against our selfish tendencies and always be willing to ask Jesus for help to live as He asks.

Live it out this week

Make it a point to show kindness this week. Ask the Father to give you a compassionate heart. Be willing to forgive others in all things, from the smallest slights to the biggest offenses. When it is hard, remember that God’s grace is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Memorize Ephesians 4:32 and meditate on it this week.

Prayer

Father, help me to show kindness to all I encounter this week. Give me compassion for a lost world. Help me to forgive as You forgive. Grant me grace to do these things, today and every day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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Featured image by reneebigelow from Pixabay

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