Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other,
just as in Christ
God forgave you.
If I had to pick a verse that was foundational to our family, this would be it. Our four kids learned this verse backward and forward. I even made up a melody so we could sing it. Even though they all have grown up and have children of their own, I’d be willing to bet the farm that each one could recite this verse still today. Here’s why:
When our kids were little and there was a tussle brewing between two of them, I would have them stand on opposite ends of the living room and make both of them recite a version of Ephesians 4:32 while looking at each other.
“We will be kind and compassionate to each other,
forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave us.”
There was usually some rolling of the eyes and resistance, but I held firm. After the verse was quoted, I instructed them to take one large step toward each other and say it again. This would be repeated until the two squabblers were nose to nose. Then I would direct them to end in a hug. It is very hard for two children to stand nose to nose without breaking into giggles. I knew it was an effective method when I overheard one say, “We’d better quit arguing or mom will make us do that thing.”
Kindness has to be taught.
Compassion needs to be nurtured.
Forgiveness must be practiced.
And I’m not just talking about children.
Believe you me,
there are some adults I’d like to invite into my living room
for the very same treatment.
Father God, I know from experience how much it hurts a parent’s heart to see her children being unkind to each other. I’m sorry for grieving Your heart in the same way. Sometimes I need help being nice. Help me to grow up and stop being childish. Teach me to be quick to forgive and slow to judge. Remind me again of what it cost Your Son to purchase my forgiveness and give me strength to live in light of that truth. Help us, Your children, to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other.
*Part twelve in a series on “The One Anothers”