Ephesians 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” This verse describes our attitude toward our fellow Christian. Each of us, as Christians, is saved by the blood of Jesus Christ; we have a common salvation. However we are still imperfect people who have the ability to say and do things that displease or harm our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. This verse describes how we are to treat our brother or sister when they trespass against us.
First, we are to be kind to them. We may be angry with them for what they have done and our first reaction might be to strike back at them. But our reaction should be kindness – kindness because we love them. Jesus commanded us to love each other. John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Love is kind. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” We are to treat our brother or sister with kindness because we love them.
Second, we are to be tenderhearted towards them. This means that we are to have pity and compassion for them. The opposite of tenderhearted would be hardhearted. How can we be hardhearted toward them when they are our brother or sister? They are saved for the same reason that we are saved – because God had mercy on us. 1 Peter 3:8-9 “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”
Finally, we are to forgive our brother or sister. Forgiveness is one of the great themes of the Bible. God has forgiven each and every one of us. None of us wants to stand before God on the judgement day and answer for our transgressions and sins. But we don’t have to worry about our sins, because God has forgiven us. In the “Lord’s Prayer”, Jesus taught his disciples to pray. Matthew 6:12-15 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
It is important how we treat our fellow Christian. We are to be kind to them; we are to be tenderhearted towards them; we are to forgive them their trespasses against us. The bottom line is that we are to love them!