The Benevolent and Forgiving Temper
Ephesians 4:32
And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you.

Instead of bitterness, there ought to be kindness; instead of wrath, anger, clamor, and evil-speaking, there ought to be tender-heartedness; instead of malice, a loving and hearty forgiveness.

I. KINDNESS. It is a suggestive idea that our English word "kind" is derived from kinned, as marking the affection of kindred.

1. Consider how it is to be manifested.

(1) By desiring one another's good (1 Timothy 2:1);

(2) by rejoicing in one another's prosperity (Romans 12:15);

(3) by pitying one another's miseries (Romans 12:15);

(4) by helping one another's necessities (1 John 3:17, 18).

2. The motives to kindness.

(1) The example of God himself, who is said to be "kind to the unthankful and evil" (Luke 6:35);

(2) it is a commanded duty;

(3) we are brethren both in the flesh and in the spirit. A kindly spirit without a touch of censoriousness or harshness greatly recommends true religion.

II. TENDER-HEARTEDNESS. This expression is in the original closely allied to "bowels of mercy" (Colossians 3:12). It implies a compassionate sense of the miseries and infirmities of others. It is to interpret in the best sense the injunction of the apostle: "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others" (Philippians 2:4). The ties of nature are not cancelled by Christianity, but strengthened by it. We ought to be ready at all times to soothe the sorrows, to remove the miseries, to solve the doubts, of our neighbors. It is a temper highly recommended in Scripture (Luke 6:36; 1 Peter 3:8). An unmerciful spirit is declared to be inconsistent with the love of God in the soul: "Whoso... shutteth his bowels of compassion ... how dwelleth the love of God in him?" (1 John 3:17). We ought to follow the example of our heavenly Father, who is rich in mercy, and whose tender mercies are over all his works; and of his dear Son Jesus Christ, who was often moved with compassion (Matthew 9:36), and, as the High Priest of our profession, cannot but be touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 6:15).

III. THE FORGIVING SPIRIT. "Forgiving one another, even as God also in Christ forgave you." These words imply:

1. That Christians will often do to one another much that needs forgiveness. They are "of like passions with other men," beset by infirmities of temper, or apt to come into collision with others either in a way of opinion or of interest. Faults will be committed, offence will be given.

2. That it is a Christian. duty to forgive others. Our Lord gave repeated injunctions respecting it (Matthew 6:14; Luke 17:4).

3. Our forgiving our brethren must be a certain factor in our own prayer for Divine forgiveness.

4. The motive or measure of our forgiveness is to be the very forgiveness of God himself. Note:

(1) It is God who forgives; it is an act of his grace (Ephesians 1:7).

(2) He does it in Christ, not merely for his sake, but in him as our Mediator.

(3) It is a past act. Believers are forgiven in Christ in the very moment of their conversion.

(4) How miserable we should be without it! - God angry with us; hell under our feet; the very blessings of life a curse to us.

(5) How happy we are with this forgiveness! God will never condemn you nor remember your sins; all things will be blessed to you; the love of God the guarantee of your final glorification. - T.C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

WEB: And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.

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