Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you – Ephesians 4:32
What soft comfort and what hard conviction are contained in this one admonition! First, we are told that God has, for Christ’s sake, forgiven you (if you are among "the faithful in Christ Jesus" to whom Paul was writing).
Not only has he forgiven you, but he has done so with kindness and with tenderness of heart. This is no begrudging, reluctant forgiveness. God’s heart is tender toward us. His love toward us is genuine and his forgiveness is complete.
However, the more we marvel at the undeserved and kindly love of God for us, the more we convict ourselves by the standard that is here set before us. We are to be kind, and tenderhearted, and forgiving toward one another in the same way that God was kind, and tenderhearted, and forgiving toward us.
How did God forgive you? Did he wait until you deserved his forgiveness? Did he make you grovel, or earn, or beg for it? Does he bring your past sins up over and over again in order to shame you? Did he wait for you to pursue him, or did he pursue you in order to bring about healing and reconciliation in your relationship with him?
The overwhelming teaching of Scripture—and especially the first half of this book Ephesians—is that God sought us out and forgave us in Christ without any conditions, or qualifications being met by us. We, therefore, ought to be just as kind, just as tender, just as forgiving toward each other.
© Baptist Bible Hour
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