And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32
Scripture reading: Luke 10:25-37
Being tender-hearted can also be defined as being compassionate, big-hearted, showing pity, sorrow, sympathy and having empathy toward those who are suffering or in need. This tender-heartedness or compassion prompts us into action. It’s not enough to have compassion only to walk away and do nothing.
Throughout the Old Testament, we read of God’s compassion upon His covenant people when they were enslaved in Egypt and wandered the desert for forty years. In spite of their constant murmuring, rebellion and unfaithfulness a tender-hearted God was long-suffering. He provided for all their needs. He protected them and delivered them into the Promised Land.
Throughout the New Testament, we read of Jesus’ compassion for the poor, the sick, the hungry and the social outcasts. The pinnacle of Jesus’ compassion was His response to our need for a Saviour by laying down His own life on Calvary’s cross, as an atoning sacrifice for all our sin.
Being tender-hearted is more than just feelings – it is compassion put into action. As the Parable of the Good Samaritan demonstrates, we don’t just walk around the physically and spiritually needy, but we rise to the occasion to actually help others in their need. Being tender-hearted often involves commitment and sacrifices. It often comes at a personal price.
Since God is so tender-hearted toward us undeserving sinners, how much more, as imitators of God, should we not also be tender-hearted and compassionate toward others?
Suggestions for prayer
Pray that we may be big-hearted Christians who show the compassion and love of Christ to those in need.
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.