“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32.
The way to become more gracious and gentle.
Listen to what Paul wrote. “But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children.” 1 Thessalonians 2:7-11.
This is taken from the 1st letter Apostle Paul wrote to his friends in Thessalonica who accepted Jesus as their savior in his missionary journey. Take note of some words and phrases- gentle, like a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children, fond of affection for them, well pleased to give not only Gospel but also his life, very dear, worked day and night and preached the gospel of Jesus Christ, exhorting, encouraging and imploring like a father would do to his children. Here is a picture of true graciousness in the words and mindset of Paul. Gentle, mother, tender care, affection, and father.
Paul’s name was Saul before he came to Jesus Christ. Saul was a well learned and high ranked man in the Jewish society. He used to be very proud of his social status and advanced education in his early days. Because he was so zealous for the Jewish religion, he hated Jesus movement and persecuted Christians and Christian churches. He said this about himself in Philippians 3, “I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.”
Then after his encounter with Jesus Christ, he said this, “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.”
Yes, indeed he discarded all his accomplishments and status. He counted it all as just garbage. His life’s passion became to know the person of Jesus Christ and to be with Him.
Have you been to Jesus? Your spiritual life starts when you meet Jesus Christ. You become more kind, tenderhearted, forgiving, gracious and merciful. What happens is this – Jesus is full of grace. Out of His fullness, you are going to get grace on top of grace. You will grow in grace-your life, words and style become gracious. Bible says in 2nd Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
What happened to the once blasphemer, violent accuser and criminal Saul is beyond comparison. The encounter with Jesus Christ changed him inside out. He became a channel for the free flow of grace, gentleness, tender care, forgiveness and kindness.
Do you want to experience such a transformation in your life? You cannot buy it with your money, and richness. It is a gift God gives you when you come to His Son, Jesus Christ. Paul got such a heart from Jesus. He was with Jesus. He accepted Jesus as His Lord and Savior. That made all the significant differences.
God in Christ forgave you of all your sins. God put all your sins on the body of Jesus. He carried it willingly and voluntarily and died in your place to pay for your sins. Therefore, you can turn around and forgive others. You can be gentle and tenderhearted because you experienced these from God.
Got a moment for today’s prayer? “Father in heaven, I understand you forgave all my sins in the person and work of your Son, Jesus Christ, the savior of the whole world. Please help me to be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving to others. I believe Jesus died and rose again and paid for my sins. I invite Jesus Christ to come into my life. Please save me and transform me so that I can become a channel of the free flow of your grace to others. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.”