“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
For today’s verse, we will learn something from an ending verse of chapter four of the book of Ephesians. Paul ended the chapter with a complete conclusion on how a Christian should live. We all know that our main goal is to live our lives Christ-like but in this verse, Paul listed a Christian life characteristics in a manner that we will really understand and in a short but concise one.
First, Paul wants us to be kind. This is not just being helpful to others but this means being compassionate. It is not about how helpful we are but it is about being compassionate to others. God wants us to show this compassion towards our brethrens because He knows that it is really hard to always deal with people of different attitudes and preferences. As human as we are, we easily get irritated, we lose our temper a lot and we succumb into shaming other people most of the time.
Being compassionate to others is the complete opposite of these characteristics. God wants us to do this because as Christians, we should not fall into the deceitfulness of the world. Satan will always use our emotions to contradict what we believe and to use us like puppets— emotional puppets. The enemy likes to toy with our emotions because he knows that we are all emotionally inclined and most of the time we use our emotions as the basis for our decisions. Therefore, God wants to remind us that whatever we feel, whatever situation we are in, it is very important for us to show kindness and compassion to our brethrens.
Basically, Paul wrote on the same clause the kind and compassionate because this really sums up and these words are really partners. Compassion also means being sympathetic and empathetic to others feelings. We have to always understand that our responsibility to the people around us especially non-Christians is to become a good witness to Christ’s love. With our life, they will be able to know and see how much Christ’s love has changed us. So, being kind and compassionate to others are really essential because Jesus has been compassionate and kind towards us also. He was being sympathetic and empathetic to our feelings to the point of dying on the cross for us.
Lastly, Paul also wrote that we should forgive each other. Now, this is the hard part of being a Christian. It is very hard to forgive people who really sinned so gravely against us. Some people would say, “What if he cheated on me so many times? I can forgive him for the first five times but now he keeps on doing it again, what can I do?” or “He killed my brother, how can I forgive him?” or “She stole my husband, how can I forgive her?” Indeed, it is very hard to forgive, especially those big sins. We can never understand that it is really important for us to forgive.
As Christians, we are really put into situations where we are tested to extend our patience and our forgiving side but we must not fail to complete this test. Everytime we feel that everything is so hard, we must understand that those people who sinned against us are like us who sinned gravely against God. If those people sinned against us five times or more and we felt so cheated and betrayed, imagine what God must have felt that for the course of our life, we have been sinning against Him but still He managed to forgive us and to give us everlasting life? It is because He is a loving, gracious and merciful God.
God does not expect us to be completely gracious and merciful because He knows that it is really hard for us to do that because we are also sinful by nature. However, God wants us to reflect Christ’s forgiveness and grace in our lives. He wants us to be forgiving, kind and compassionate to everyone because it is not us who lives anymore but it is Christ. After all, this is not for ourselves but it is for Christ. It is not us who must increase but it should be Christ. We forgive others not because for ourselves but because for them and also to reflect God’s goodness in our lives.
Fair warning too, God said that we should be compassionate towards others but we should always remember that compassion is different from compromise. We should watch ourselves and be mindful because we might become so compassionate that we compromise what we believe; we compromise our faith; we compromise our stand. Indeed God wants us to be kind and compassionate but He doesn’t want us to compromise His teachings because we are compassionate. Instead, He wants us to rebuke each other but in a gentle and loving manner.
Therefore, as Christians who tasted and witnessed the love of Christ and His grace, we should live our lives Christ-like— kind, compassionate and forgiving one another just as Christ has forgiven us over and over again. Let us always remember that the key to a Christian walk is to journey with Christ always— not compromising anything. May the God who is gracious and loving bless us always. Amen.
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