Kindness, Compassion, Forgiveness

Ephesians 4:32, Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgive one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you. (Own Greek translation.)

Here, Paul has three exhortations: Be kind to one another, show compassion, and forgive one another. The basis for such living is the forgiveness we have received from God in Christ. Kindness is not just nice words; it is an attitude and way of benevolence—not hostile or contentious, as is the habit of some on social media. Compassion is deep emotional empathy. When a person suffers, their suffering moves our spirit so much that we suffer with them. We see such compassion when we see a friend hold another friend as their friend is weeping in grief. Jesus teaches us to forgive one another in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:12). Indeed, we are required to learn how to forgive someone when they don’t deserve our forgiveness. After all, we don’t deserve God’s forgiveness, but He chose to forgive us in Christ anyway. Thus, we become shameful when we prohibit mercy for someone who doesn’t deserve it when God gave us undeserved mercy.

This is a serious text because these are apostolic commands. Indeed, it could be debated whether one is truly a Christian where kindness, compassion, and forgiveness are seriously lacking. Why does Paul give these commands? They are ways in which we actively proclaim Christ and His work to the world.

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