Compassion. Sympathy. Tenderness. Empathy. Sensitivity. Kindness.
These are not words that one often hears about in the news. They are not words that seem to be prioritized or emphasized in the media – whether that be on news stations, in movies or televisions shows, or over the radio. Sure, sometimes after a disastrous event they are touched on – but then they are left behind in the dust as politicians are raked over the coals and celebrities are publicly criticized.
God says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
Be kind. Tenderhearted. Forgive. Such a common Bible verse and yet one that seems to be glossed over and “forgotten” so often.
Compassion is important to me. Tenderness often does the most amazing things in relationships. These qualities heal, nurture, and give life.
We live in a world that seems to be getting more cold and bitter by the day. Rudeness is common and people have grown to be experts at protecting their beliefs in a strong-willed, outspoken, abrupt kind of way.
Where is the tenderness? Where is the kindness?
God didn’t ask us to be tender when we felt like it. He did not ask us to be kind only to those who were sweet and loving in return. No, He told us to BE KIND. BE TENDERHEARTED. And FORGIVE. They were commands.
I think attitudes are like viruses. What one person does, seems to “catch” onto every person they run across, on that particular day. If you are mean to someone, suddenly their mood turns sour and they are gruff with another person, who in turn is harsh with another…and so on. So likewise, what would happen if we are tender to someone? Kind? Compassionate? They in turn, will give grace and mercy to another, and that person will cut a break to someone else and so on. Just. Like. A. Virus.
What kind of world do you want to live in? What kind of person do you want to be? Sure, we can’t impact everyone – but we sure can impact quite a few – simply by starting with our own choices, actions, and attitudes with one person. It will spread from there.
Don’t give up. Don’t stop believing. Let God deal with your hurts and ask Him to help you show others what your heart so longs for as well. Tenderness, forgiveness, and kindness.
*First published on Devotional Christian (May 2011)