WHO YOU ARE CHILD OF GOD… LOOKING AT EPHESIANS 4
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”-Ephesians 4:32.
Now Paul instructs us in how we are to relate to one another. The Holy Spirit working freely and ungrieved in us will produce these things in our lives. To be kind is to extend Christian courtesy to one another. We are told to be kind to each other as we walk in this unkind world. Our brothers and sisters ought to be able to find a refuge with us…a refuge of kindness. I love the thought of the church as being a spiritual and emotional hospital…a place of healing for the Christian who has been mistreated by the world. Jesus told us how the world would treat us…”And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.”-Luke 21:17. In the church we need to be kind to one another…we need to have a refuge from the unkindness and hatred of the world. Paul expands the kindness we are called to by telling us to be tenderhearted to one another. To have a genuine heart of love, care, and empathy for one another. It is the thought of a deep affection for each other…we are family and we love and care for each other like family.
This chapter ends with Paul telling us that we need to forgive one another. Again, he is not telling us to be like the world…but to forgive the way God forgave us in Jesus Christ. How did God forgive us in Jesus? Well we could say He forgave us completely…and that would be true. When God forgives He also forgets…He never holds against us what He has forgiven. We are called to forgive each other that same way. Now it must be said that God’s forgiveness is conditional, not universal. God only forgives through His Son Jesus…and He only forgives someone who comes to Him with a broken repentant heart, and asks for forgiveness, putting their trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Complete forgiveness requires both the one being forgiven and the one forgiving to be involved. While it is true we can forgive someone who has done us wrong even if they don’t acknowledge their wrong…that kind of forgiveness releases the forgiver…sadly the one forgiven never experiences the reality of the healing power of forgiveness. The Bible says that God loved the whole world that He sent His one and only Son…Jesus died in our place that we might know the forgiveness and salvation of God. Sadly though most will not receive for themselves what Christ did for them on the cross…so they will spend eternity without ever experiencing the wonderful blessing of knowing the forgiveness of God.