“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:32)
Paul realizes that our cleaned up house needs some new furniture, so he gives us a list of things to replace what we threw away in the cleaning out process. These are top of the line furnishings and come with an awesome guarantee. Every single one of them will make our house a showplace. We will be able to put our house up on the next “open house tour” in our city.
First item is kindness to others. I find it interesting that folks can show more kindness to dogs and cats than other people. If a dog runs out in front of our car, we put on the brakes and hope we miss it. Let another human pull their car in front of us, and we may go ballistic. That will change as soon as we replace bitterness with kindness.
Second item is tenderheartedness. We don’t talk about it much but being tenderhearted is a sign of gentleness and meekness. It’s a way of putting others first and thinking of them instead of ourselves. It means finding mercy where we may not have under our old house rules.
Third is forgiveness. This is major forgiveness. We sometimes forgive little things but say we can’t forgive major offenses. So, Paul in his way reminds us that our forgiveness is to be as broad as God’s. Therefore the faithful saint must and does forgive everyone for every offense. Everyone!
Think about a house that was full of kind, tenderhearted, forgiving people. You’re thinking about the church or at least how Paul sees the church. Wouldn’t you like to live in a neighborhood where every house was like that? Wouldn’t you like to be a part of a church that was like that?
Task for today: Now that you’ve cleaned house redecorate with some new attitudes. Be the first house on your block, set an example for the entire neighborhood. Have an open house and invite the rest of the neighbors in. Encourage them to redecorate as well. Your neighborhood (or church) will be a much finer place to live, don’t you agree?