Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT
When we stand in front of a mirror we have the expectation that it will reflect our image; unfortunately, it is the image that we have formulated in our minds, the image that is always perfect. Think about a shopping experience when the clothing that you selected from the rack did not meet your expectations because the mirror exposed the conflict between reality and what you imagined. The disappointment was overwhelming as you began to search for secondary options; even so, the mirror reflected the only possible image, the true image that was standing in front of it.
The Bible is our spiritual mirror, we may perform good deeds, but our character may not reflect the traits that God desires of us. Do you possess unconditional love? Is God’s love evident as shown to others by your tender-heart?
All of the characteristics that we are to possess originate from and require unconditional love. What is unconditional love? It is the pure love that comes from God; it is the never-ending River of Love that God has within His heart for us and from that river are streams that branch off into the rivers of God’s forgiveness, His grace, and His mercy. It is only when we study the Word of God that we become aware of who God really is; the Bible speaks of and reflects God’s loving character.
Even God possesses a tender-heart. Based on the Fall of Adam and Eve, we become fully aware of God’s tender heart; because of sin, the first animal death occurred in order to provide protective skins of clothing for the couple to live outside of the Garden of Eden. The fallen ones were not destroyed because of their disobedience; in fact, God provided and prepared them for the change in the environment by giving them specific instructions for the lifestyle that was required to live productively.
If there is still confusion regarding God’s tender-heart then reflect on the Plan of Salvation and the death of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ who was the “One and Only One” who could redeem us from sin. Redemption was God’s permission and acceptance of Jesus’ willing sacrifice for humanity; the human race continued because of God’s tender heart overflowing with grace and mercy.
We are the recipients of never-ending forgiveness because of God’s tender-heart; does any parent wish for the destruction of their children?
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 NIV
We must do our part to intentionally rid ourselves of “all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander, and all other types of evil behavior.” Eternal life requires the cultivation of a tender-heart! Love God, Love Others, and Love yourself.
Bible Reading: Ephesians 4
Prayer for today: Dear God, Thank you for your unconditional love and your tender-heart. We ask forgiveness for every thought or action of malice toward others, and we ask your help in the transformation of our character. We pray for a clean, loving and tender-heart that we may serve thee and treat others with intentional kindness, and never-ending forgiveness. Thank you for the plan of Redemption and the gift of your Son, Jesus, and we ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of our Savior Lord, and Jesus Christ. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019