A Blessed Admonition Of Grace      

Ephesians 4:32


     Perhaps there is no verse in the Bible that is sweeter, more gentle, or more universally beneficial than Ephesians 4:32. It contains the essence and the fulness of both practical christianity and gospel doctrine.

     HERE IS A THREEFOLD ADMONITION - In the preceding verses Paul has told us many things which should never be done by us, lest we grieve the Spirit of God (vv. 25-31). Here he tells us three things we must do if we would "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" in the body of Christ. "Be ye kind one to another." Kindness is one of those things that need little explanation. We all know when we are being kind, and when we are not. And we all know when we are receiving kindness and when we are not. To be kind is "to be disposed to do good to others and make them happy."Kindness is good-will,benevo- lence, and thoughtfulness. To be kind is to be thoughtful of one another's needs and feelings and take care to meet them.Kindness is the warmth of love, kinship and friend- ship.God, give me grace to be kind to all people, but es- pecially to your people. We cannot be kind without also being "tenderhearted".Tenderness is not weakness. Tender- ness is the strength of love. To be tenderhearted is to have a heart that is quickly moved to pity, compassion, sympathy and kindness. It is the opposite of hardness, harshness and cruelty. The tenderhearted believer is not critical but compassionate, not quick to take offense but quick to understand, not revengeful but overlooking. Spirit of God, give me a tender heart for my brethren. More than in anything else, kindness and tenderheartedness is demonstrated by "forgiving one another." Forgiveness is the free, unsolicited response of a kind, tender heart to the offensive behavior of one who is dearly loved. Forgiveness is never conditional. It is free. It does not look for retalliation, but for reconciliation. Forgiveness is never deserved. It is an act of mercy, kindness and tenderness. Forgiveness is the stretching out of the kind, tender heart to one who has alienated himself. Lord, teach me to freely forgive those who do things to annoy, offend and hurt me.

     HERE IS A GRACIOUS MOTIVE - I give it to you without comment or explanation. For every believer this will be both sufficient and effectual to enforce the preceding admonition - "Even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."


Don Fortner