And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
The Book of Ephesians describes the behavior that ought to characterize Christians as they relate to one another. Our actions ought to be permeated with kindness. Kindness is love expressed in practical ways; it is putting the needs of others before our own. It is intentionally considering ways to meet other people’s needs. Being tenderhearted means that we are keenly sensitive to the feelings of others. When a fellow Christian experiences sorrow, we grieve also (1 Cor. 12:26). When another believer is joyful, we, too, rejoice. Being tenderhearted means showing compassion toward those around us.
We show forgiveness because we, too, fall short of God’s ideal. Knowing that God has graciously saved us from destruction motivates us to forgive others when they offend us. Often we are less patient with our fellow Christians than we are with nonbelievers. We expect more of Christians, and we feel betrayed when they fail us. When this happens, we need to look closely at the cross and remember the forgiveness we received there. We must set aside the self-centered attitude that leads to impatience and criticism of others.
Jesus did not say that the world will know Him by our miracles, by our grand testimonies, or by our vast Bible knowledge. The world will know Him by the love that Christians show to one another (John 13:35). Are you constantly in conflict with others? Ask God to give you kindness, a tender heart, and a forgiving spirit. As you allow the Spirit to build these qualities into you, your life will be a blessing to others around you.