Last week I read some powerful words from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. I’ve always found this particular epistle to be stimulating, engaging, encouraging and more than a little challenging: lots of good reasons to read it with an eye on self-application! The verse that leapt out to me and caused some personal searching was Ephesians 4:32: ‘Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another as Christ forgave you.’ I’m reminded that to live in the forgiveness of God is not only to receive it, but to pass it on and demonstrate/articulate the kindness that accompanies it!
It’s easy, I suppose, to forgive the odd mistake or be kind to those who are generally nice to us, but, for me, the proof of real Christ-like forgiveness is how we react when we are really offended, or how we refrain from ‘getting our own back’ when we are hurt and niggled and want nothing more than to let the offending party ‘know about it’!
During last Sunday’s message, I said that the fruit of the Spirit was also the outworking of the character of Christ in us. The fifth expression of the fruit listed in Galatians 5:22 is kindness. It still amazes me that my life is utterly transformed and my eternal destiny changed because of the kindness and forgiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ; the fact that we are called to pass them on indiscriminately emphasises just how important they are in the economy of the kingdom!