Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
These instructions (commands really) come at the end of a section that my Bible titled, “Instructions for Christian Living.” As I read the verse recently, it occurred to me that the height of Christian kindness and compassion is forgiveness.
There are endless ways in which we can express kindness to others. Likewise, our compassion can be demonstrated in a host of different ways. However, if we really want to be like Christ, His kindness and compassion must lead us to forgiveness.
You see, we can be kind and compassionate in some areas of life, yet all the while harboring deep resentment and bitterness in another. Paul’s command – be kind, compassionate AND forgiving. Only then, does true Christ-likeness show.
The verse above is followed by an unfortunate Chapter break. However, such pauses were not in the original letter Paul wrote. Immediately after Paul’s words about kindness, compassion, and forgiveness, is this follow-up:
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Why is forgiveness the pinnacle of kindness, compassion, and Christ-likeness? Because it follows God’s example of love and sacrifice. Do you need to forgive someone today? Failing to do so is not harming them – it’s holding you back from walking in the steps of Jesus. Be loving and kind, compassionate and selfless – forgive today. –Dave
(To receive these free daily devotions via email, sign up at: http://www.theteachableheart.com/blogs—daily-devotions.html. For more information about the ministry, or to order the devotional books, visit: http://www.theteachableheart.com/books.html).