Exodus 34: 6 – 7

Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin.”

I wrote yesterday of my changing attitudes and if I failed to communicate this, I want to make clear that the only reason there is even a drop of compassion in my body is because our Father is full of loving compassion. He has given me the ability to feel His love and compassion for His children.

Do you love this passage? I hope it is rich and meaningful to you. Pick a word, any word and just let it speak to you and show you Father’s nature. I am a little stuck on the word “lovingkindness.” Other translations just say “love” and that is all that is necessary but it is almost like the translators of the NASB and earlier versions just couldn’t wrap enough sentiment around the word love so they had to reach into the richer meaning of the original language. It is not enough to be loving because it has to express the manifestation of love. God’s love does something. It is not a feeling; it is an action. It shows itself in His kindness, His graciousness, and His patience. He is abounding with love and compassion such that it is overflowing from Him. It is Him. He is love and compassion. He is not a wrathful God but instead a Father of infinite patience who is slow to anger. He is kind and forgiving at all times and each day He has a new supply of tender mercy for each of us.

We may overlook the word gracious but perhaps it is the word which will most bless your heart today. God’s grace means that He is thoughtful, affectionate, kind, caring and courteous. He purposes not to hurt or even embarrass you. He is gentle. A gracious person attempts not to hurt your feelings. They are tender and that is God.

He is the loving embrace you need today. He is accepting and understanding. You don’t have to pretend with Him because He accepts you just as you are. He loves you and wants to wrap His arms around you today and keep you safe. He cares infinitely about what you are thinking and feeling. His love for you knows no bounds which is what abounding communicates. Every morning His love for you is renewed so that there is a never-ending supply. He is a deep well of understanding.

Your God is love and loves you. He is pouring out His heart to you today so that you can rest in His compassionate embrace. You don’t need to bring anything to the meeting. Just let Him soothe you. He is non-judgmental so you can take whatever you think and whatever you feel and cast it at His feet. Every day, He only wants to protect and love you. Whatever you need today is in Him. Praise the Lord for His love is all encompassing and poured out onto the children of earth.

Kind, Tender, Forgiving

Ephesians 4: 32

And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
And finally, be nice, for this is the way of a mature Christian.

Yesterday we read Paul’s directions for the attitudes and expressions we must avoid. Today he shows us the contrast. He said don’t be a party to bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor (complaining), slander and malice. Now he is saying do be kind, tender-hearted and forgiving.

Think about tender-hearted for a moment. That would be the exact opposite of being hard-hearted. You will see the tender heart evidenced in compassion, empathy and sympathy. When something happens to someone else whether that event be large or small, a tender-hearted person would feel compassion for the other person and then would likely express that compassion in gentle words. A tender-hearted person would feel the effect of that event on the other person. A person who is tender-hearted feels things. Their heart is easily touched. This does not mean that they are a slave to their feelings. They just have the ability to understand legitimate emotion. You cannot be hard-hearted and walk as Jesus walked because he was a man of great compassion. We need to allow ourselves to be moved by the condition and situation of others. We don’t become enablers in the dysfunctional sense, but we can respond from a heart of compassion. It is possible to balance these things. Jesus certainly did.

And if you think anyone has done you wrong, forgive them. How many times, really, do we need to hear this? Once a day perhaps. Look, it’s not all about you. It is not about what you wanted, what you thought or what they did to you. It is not even about what they said about you. Let it go. They are fascinated with you because their own life is so boring or messed up. Don’t get in their muck with them by getting all steamed up at their bad acts. Let them wallow in the muck and mire if they must, but get yourself into your place with Jesus far above and beyond all the filthiness of this world. Let your heart of compassion forgive them and for goodness sake pray for them. They really need it.

Be kind, be gentle, be forgiving. It is the way.