Be Kind One to Another

Ephesians 4:32:

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

I am convinced that our relationships would be revolutionized by one simple change. This change is not complex or sophisticated, but it is often rarely found. This one simple change is plainly stated in one word: kindness! That sounds simple, even elementary, doesn’t it? Still, I genuinely believe that your relationships would be revolutionized by kindness; not just the kindness others show you, but the kindness that you show others.

Generally speaking, we are, far too often, unkind to the people with whom we regularly relate. In fact, I’ve observed that we may even show more common courtesy to the general public than we do with our own people. Someone has said that…

“The home is the place where we are loved the most, treated the best, and act the worst.”

Or perhaps you’ve heard…

Home is the place where we are treated the best, but grumble the most.

We give ourselves permission to be mean, hateful, rude, impatient, selfish, unsympathetic, hostile, oppressive, and cruel to those who love us the most. In other words, the real you is often disguised in public, and all too often the real you is not a kind person.

Isn’t it amazing that the Bible tells us to be kind! I say it’s amazing because this command seems so obvious that  it should not even have to be in the Bible. But it is. More than once.

  • Romans 12:10 – “[Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another”
  • Colossians 3:12-13 – “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also [do] ye.”
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4a – “Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind.”
  • 2 Peter 1:5a, 7a – “Add to your faith…brotherly kindness.”
  • Ephesians 4:31-32 – “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

The Greek word translated “brotherly kindness” in 2 Peter 1:7 is “philadelphia.” That word means “brotherly love.” It speaks of friendship and affection. Think about what Peter is saying. He is telling us to add friendships to our faith. We are to be affectionate one to another. As a pastor, one of my greatest fears is that people will visit the church and sit on the fringes without developing any relationships, coming to hear the preacher and listen to the music, and then go on their way, isolated from the rest of the body; completely unconnected. That is dangerous and unhealthy because friendships and faith go together.

Spiritual growth means godliness – that is your vertical relationship with God – and kindness – your horizontal relationships with others. You must add both to your faith!

What then does kindness look like, and how do we add it to our faith?

Kindness certainly involves words that you say. Speak kindly, but kindness also includes your tone of voice, not just what you say but how you say it. Kindness is certainly more than words; it is also deeds and actions.

  • 2 Samuel 9:1, 7 – “And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?… And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.”

It is important that we understand, however, that acts of kindness be attached to an attitude of kindness. Kindness is not revengeful, it does not return evil with evil. It is not mean-spirited, rude, or unfriendly. Kindness may mean for you bearing another’s burden, guarding from gossip, prejudice, or narrowness. It could mean including in your fellowship activities someone who may not be adept at socializing, or accepting a person who has a different perspective or philosophy from your own.

How can you be a kinder person? The answer is found in…

  • Ephesians 4:31-32– “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

This section of Paul’s letter deals with what I call the “Old man / New man Principle.” Ephesians 4:22 says “put off the old man” and verse 24 says to “put on the new man.” When you become a Christian, there are some things from your old life of which you must get rid, but it isn’t enough just to get rid of bad habits. Christianity is not reformation! It involves replacement. You get rid of the old and replace it with the new, and all of this is possible by the grace of God and the empowering of His Holy Spirit. Jesus said that the person, who sweeps his house of an evil spirit and then stops, is in danger of seven new evil spirits occupying his place (Matthew 12:43-45). Don’t just get rid of the old, replace it with the new!

Now notice (again) verses 31-32.

  • Ephesians 4:31-32– “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Here is a direct and explicit command concerning kindness – “Be ye kind one to another.” Surrounding this command are six sinful vices to cast off from the old life, and two supernatural virtues to put on in your new life.

Remove…

1) Bitterness – smoldering resentment

2) Clamor – outward acts of violence

3) Anger – deep seated, subtle feeling of sin

4) Evil speaking – slander, gossip, negative criticism, lies, etc.

5) Malice – hatred on the inside

6) Wrath – an explosion of rage; hatred on the outside

Replace it with…

1) Tenderheartedness – the opposite of being hard-hearted, calloused, unfeeling, refusing to understand another person’s feelings or circumstances.

2) Forgiveness – because we have been forgiven we are to be forgiving! God has forgiven us on the basis of what Christ did on the cross. We are to forgive others who have wronged us on the same basis. Forgiveness focuses on the issue not the individual. Forgiveness looks at the offense from God’s perspective; not selfishly. Forgiveness refuses to retaliate. Forgiveness purposefully forgets the offense and specifically remembers the moment of forgiveness.

If you will remove all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice and will replace what you have removed with tenderheartedness and forgiveness, you will have created an environment in which you can keep God’s command to be kind one to another.

My former pastor used to minister in Amarillo, TX. While he was there he noticed another Baptist Church in town that was named BYKOTA Baptist Church. He stopped in one day to speak with the pastor, mainly because he was so intrigued by the name. He thought it was an Indian name, and wondered what it meant. The name was not Indian at all! It was an acrostic.

Bbe

Yye

Kkind

Oone

Tto

A – another

We should all be members of the BYKOTA Baptist Church! We should all “be kind one to another,” Ephesians 4:32a

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About Travis

Christ follower. Husband of one woman. Father of three young men. Pastor. Former 11B. Blessed to pastor the Bible Baptist Church of Mount Vernon, KY.
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