Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Recite using the acronym:
B K T O A , T , F O A , A G I C F Y . EPHESIANS 4:32
Read Full Passage HERE
When reflecting on the spiritual fruit of kindness, it is helpful to think of how the word transforms from an idea to action. What are some of the ways we show kindness? Is it going out of your way to shovel the elderly couple’s driveway next door? Is it treating your spouse to a home-cooked meal despite being too tired to do so? Is it finally stopping to give money to the homeless individual you pass by each day to work? How about forgiving that person who wronged you whom you have been holding a grudge against for some time now?
To fully understand how we must put kindness into action through forgiveness, we must look first to the one who embodies kindness perfectly. This, of course, is Jesus. And it is also important to note the source from which His forgiveness overflows. Think back two weeks ago to Ephesians 1:7, paying special attention to the last part of the verse. At the end of Ephesians 1:7, we read “the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” Forgiveness is an outpouring of a rich possession of grace. What is stopping you from forgiving the one who has hurt you? Is it a lack of grace? Have you considered the following passage? “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15).
Sometimes it feels too difficult to forgive. Especially when the person who wronged you hasn’t made any attempts for reconciliation or simply said the words of “I’m sorry.” Sometimes someone’s wrongdoing against you can just be too great, too dark, too cruel, too evil. But let us consider the vilest event in the history of our world. The time when the only truly blameless, perfect, and innocent person experienced the vilest treatment from His own creation. When Christ was persecuted, scourged, hung on a cross, and murdered despite His perfect track record. He received a truly undeserved punishment, a punishment that our sin and adulterous hearts put Him through. But even so, amid His darkest hour, He forgave. Not after He had time to get through the pain but during it. He looked down from the cross through the blood in His eyes and forgave His persecutors in the midst of His persecution. (“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34) So, let’s put aside the saying “time heals all wounds” and put on the truth of “Christ heals all wounds.” Never let time heal what only Christ can. Christ forgave his persecutors amid his persecution, and if you’ve come to believe in the work of the cross and repented of your sin, Christ has not only forgiven you of your sins committed but even for the sins that you will commit.
We who are regenerate and under His grace continue to sin and seek after lesser things, and yet He still forgives. So, forgive others as God in Christ first forgave you. Meaning, forgive before it’s easy, and forgive before you hear “I’m sorry.” It’s easier said than done, but when you humble yourself by recognizing you are a depraved sinner just like the one who has wronged you, your heart will soften. No matter how vile the wrongdoing, you have never been wronged to the extent that Christ has. This isn’t said to diminish the hurt you experience or dismiss your feelings that may be justified, but it gives a perspective that can lead to action. The action of forgiveness. This outpouring of grace will sanctify you, molding you ever more closely to the image of Christ.
Christ never asked you to stop feeling, but He shows us how to forgive and how to keep on fighting.
So, be kind to one another through forgiveness rooted in grace. God has been kind towards us to produce kindness in us. God has shown grace towards us to produce grace in us. God has forgiven us to produce forgiveness in us.