And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
It’s interesting that in today’s Scripture, Paul is talking to a bunch of people who have already accepted the gift of salvation. People who already believe that God sent his only begotten son to die a death he didn’t deserve to pay for their sins. They are Christians, believers, lovers of Jesus, followers of Christ, and yet, still sinners.
Do you ever forget that you’re a sinner? Be honest. I’m reading through the Old Testament right now, and I find myself getting very annoyed by the stories. They worship God one day and then do evil the next—running from God, hiding from God and on and on. It’s so frustrating until… I take one look at myself in the mirror—just a quick glance—and I clearly see myself as the same as everyone else in these stories… a sinner.
The fact is, before you can forgive, you have to see yourself as a sinner as well. Romans 3:23 says for everyone has sinned, we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Everyone who’s anyone has fallen short and therefore is a sinner. So, in order to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving, you must always remember that you are a sinner—showing kindness and forgiveness to another sinner. You can forgive the sinner who’s hurt you because you’re a sinner who’s hurt others.
Gosh, the world teaches us differently, doesn’t it? Telling us it’s everyone else’s fault! You’re not the problem they are! But the truth is, we all are the problem at one time or another and in need of grace and love and forgiveness, which God gives to us freely through his son Jesus Christ. It’s a nice knock off the ole pedestal, huh? It is for me. In order to live like Paul describes—tenderhearted, kind and forgiving, you have to take a cringe-worthy look in your own mirror… often.
Is there someone in your life that you tend to judge? In prayer, ask God to show you how He sees them. Then, try writing a letter to them expressing what you now see. You don’t have to give it to them unless, of course, the Holy Spirit directs you to.