** …and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. ** Ephesians 4:32
A familiar verse for many of us. Be ye kind…forgive one another…because we are forgiven.
Easy words. Tougher to live day in and day out.
Because sometimes people just drive us crazy. Sometimes, we just want to lash back at those who hurt us. Sometimes, we simply forget that we are forgiven of so much more than the little words or deeds that others fling at us.
Kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness are all opposites of bitterness, anger, malice and evil speaking that are mentioned in verse 31 of the same chapter of Ephesians. They are the answer to the darker side of life. When life throws it’s ugly’s at us, our response should be the beautiful things of kindness and forgiveness.
Lamentations 3 tells us that the Lord forgives us every night and that we start with a clean slate every morning. The Lord does not keep a laundry list of our ugly moments. He doesn’t throw them in our face again and again. We need to learn to do the same thing. To free others from their debts to us on a daily basis.
I wonder if the Lord’s ability to constantly wipe the slate clean is what maintains His Holiness and His Peace.
I wonder if we could learn to do the same as He does from day to day with every person we know, if that wouldn’t help us live holier and more peaceful lives. I wonder if our inability to forgive and move on is exactly what robs us of our joy and peace of mind.
Hebrews 12 tells us that allowing past offenses to accumulate in our heart will only lead to bitterness and to being a basically miserable person everywhere we go, constantly criticizing, finding fault and contaminating every conversation and interaction that we have.
None of this means that life isn’t hard. That dealing with people and governments and hardship and suffering doesn’t take its toll. But, again, I wonder if we couldn’t learn to just reboot our mind and heart every morning and start over with everyone we encounter from day to day. That if we could just face each encounter with a fresh dose of mercy and kindness and forgiveness, that maybe, just maybe, we could change our little corner of our world.
And what would happen if people saw us do that over and over again? Would it challenge them to do the same? Would they want to learn to forgive and be merciful and to try and brighten their world instead of make it darker? Would it make more corners of the world even brighter?
Finally, I wonder if we decided that so and so just can’t be forgiven for what they did to us. And I wonder if the Lord decided there was just one thing that we did, on our worse day, some time ago, that He just can’t forgive. And that one thing kept us out of heaven. I wonder if that would motivate us to take the risk and forgive that one person that one awful thing.
To the merciful, He shows Himself merciful.
I wonder— if we could be more like Him.