"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:32
One of the most impactful ways we can share God’s heart with others is by living compassionately. To show compassion is to step outside of yourself and love another in times of weakness. And to live compassionately is to posture your heart continually toward giving grace and love to those who need it most.
Very little stirs my heart to God more than compassion. When someone sees me in my imperfection and chooses to love me rather than cast me aside, my affection for them and God is automatically stirred. Oftentimes the world is too busy or self-focused to show compassion. We get too caught up in our plans, our needs, and our image to see the hurting and share God’s heart.
But God is calling us to a life lived humbly and sacrificially. Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” The world is in desperate need of compassion. People need mercy and grace when they fail, show weakness, or are experiencing hard times. God’s heart is to use us that we might show mercy and grace as a reflection of His unconditional love. He’s calling us to be light in the darkness that the world might see in us the compassionate heart of our heavenly Father.
It’s for this reason Paul writes in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” You can forgive because you’ve been forgiven. You can be kind because your Father has been nothing but kind to you. And you can be tenderhearted because God was so tender in heart toward you. He was so compassionate that He gave His life to free you, empower you, strengthen you, and ground you in His grace and love.
Take time in guided prayer to receive a fresh revelation of God’s kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness. Open your heart and let Him transform you to be more like Him. Allow His heart to become your own. And live today in response to God’s love by showing compassion to others that they might know the tenderness and mercy of your heavenly Father.
1. Meditate on God’s heart of kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness.
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Titus 3:4-6
“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20
“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.” Psalm 130:1-5
2. Take a moment to receive the love of God.Open your heart to him and experience his kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness.
3. Ask God to empower you to show compassion today. Choose to live with your eyes not only set on your needs, but also on the needs of others.
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” 1 Peter 3:8
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:12-13
The only way we can live compassionately is by abiding in the love of our heavenly Father. 1 John 3:17 says, “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” God’s love transforms us. His heart empowers us to live differently. You can abide in the love of God today. You can live filled up with the knowledge of His grace and presence moment to moment and allow Him to be your Source. Don’t live as if you serve a distant God. Live today in acknowledgement that He is closer to you than your breath — nearer to you than your own skin. The Holy Spirit dwells within you and longs to empower you with His love today. May you live compassionately today and see the lives of others impacted as you reflect the heart of your heavenly Father.
Extended Reading: Colossians 3