Since sickness has ransacked our home, life has been a bit chaotic for the Duffer crew. Slowly we are all making it through, but it certainly has not been fun. Even Biscuit, our dog, has been ill!
But because I’ve not felt like doing much of anything other than my job and the necessities to help us all survive, I’ve had a bit of extra time to think and study and pray. I was up at 4 am this morning not feeling well, but used the time to start the day off with praying through some scriptures.
After doing so, I worked on a writing project that includes a look at Ephesians 4:32:
I did some separate writing about this verse and how it pertains to life right now—living and doing life together as the body of Christ.
“Be kind to one another” is a verse we teach the little ones. We want them to grow up being kind. But I think many adults need a refresher course in how to be kind. I know I do. Am I kind to my children? Am I kind to my brothers and sisters in Christ? Am I kind to my neighbors who don’t know Christ?
One of the definitions for the word “kind” is to be mild or gentle. I am often not gentle. I used to never be gentle. God has taught me a lot. But I still have a long way to go. We need to be gentle with each other–not harsh, not brash. Not rude, not condescending. A kind spirit…that is what I long for.
Tenderhearted: When I think of this word, I think of compassion. Compassion for those in need. Compassion for those who are hurting. These people are all around us–they are our next-door neighbors and we might not even know it. They are an orphan living on the other side of the world who will barely get enough to eat this Christmas, let alone understand what Christmas is about–that they are loved supremely by the God of this universe. And are we compassionate with each other within the body of Christ? I have experienced so much compassion, and I am so incredibly grateful. I have also, like all of us, experienced deep hurt at the hands of Christians. It’s hard to understand, hard to accept. I don’t want to be that way, I want to life with a tenderhearted spirit. But to do so, I must make sure I am doing the things necessary to keep my own heart from becoming hard or bitter–I must stay connected to Christ through prayer and scripture work.
Forgiving one another. Why is forgiveness so hard? Christ forgave us–he forgave us!! Do you see what a tremendous gift that is? Sometimes I just can’t comprehend why He would forgive me of my sins, when I’ve harmed him so. But in the same way that Christ forgave us, we are to forgive others. Whew. Can you imagine what that would truly, truly look like–if we forgave like Christ forgives? It would be total forgiveness, with kindness and tenderheartedness. It would revolutionize our churches and our communities.
This short “children’s verse” is so much more than that. We adults need to grasp hold of the concepts within it as well–even more so than little children. What can you–what can I–do today that lives out this verse in a very real and practical way?