And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32
Scripture reading: Ephesians 4:25-5:1
Verse 1 begins with, “Therefore” which connects what follows with what precedes it, “And be kind to one another….” We are to be imitators of God in kindness which is one of the attributes of God (Titus 3:4). Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Kindness is also a characteristic of true love as defined by God (1 Corinthians 13:4).
To be kind means to be useful, serving, pleasant and gracious. It is to be other-oriented. It is to be gracious and gentle in our attitudes, actions and speech toward others. Interestingly, the catalyst for Rosaria Butterfield’s radical conversion was the kindness of a local pastor.
Earlier in Ephesians 2:7 we read, “…that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” God’s kindness toward us undeserving sinners is displayed in His wonderful gift of salvation. He does not treat us as our sins deserve. So too, we are to imitate the kindness of our heavenly Father toward others.
But then, in this day and age of entitlement, of self-love and virtual relationships are we still imitators of God’s kindness? Do our thoughts, words and deeds reflect the lovingkindness of our God that we are commanded to imitate? “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honour” (Proverbs 21:21 ESV).
Suggestions for prayer
Pray that the Holy Spirit will produce in us, hearts of kindness to grace our thoughts, words and deeds toward others, that imitate the kindness of our God.
Rev. Henry Van Olst felt called to the ministry at the age of 32 after 12 years of working in the accounting field. He served the Parkland Reformed Church (URC) of Ponoka, Alberta from 1993 to 2005; served in several other churches, and upon retirement in 2020 moved back to Ponoka, Alberta along with his wife Mary, to be closer to their four married children and fifteen grandchildren. Rev. Van Olst remains active in preaching and teaching as the church is currently vacant. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.