Read: Ephesians 4:25-32

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (v. 32)

When I did youth ministry, we often played a game where players had to avoid being touched while running in a restricted area. Inevitably, the kids would run into each other while trying to avoid the tag, with comical results. In churches, we can bump into each other sometimes too, but the results aren’t always so fun. Healthy churches require people who are willing to forgive and be forgiven.

Today’s text starts with the call to kindness. The best forgiveness is the kind not needed. Kindness is the demonstration of goodness to another. It’s a choice that can prevent heartache. But sometimes lines are crossed and feelings get hurt. In those moments, forgiveness is essential both for you and the person who hurt you.

We are reminded that this act isn’t done on our power but in the forgiveness offered to us in Christ. People can do very bad things to each other, but nothing compares to the pain we inflicted upon God through our sin. And yet, even as Jesus suffered, he offered forgiveness and freedom to us. Our forgiveness isn’t done to help ourselves and the person involved, it is an act of worship to our forgiving King. We honor God and demonstrate his power as we offer that gift to another. We also remember that times will come when we need the forgiveness of another. The message of forgiveness rings hollow in a community that doesn’t practice it. —Joel Plantinga

As you pray, ask God for guidance and the courage to forgive.

About the Author

Rev. Joel Plantinga has now been in full-time pastoral ministry for more than 20 years. He serves as the Lead Pastor of Desert Winds Community Church (RCA) in Palmdale, California, and is married to Teresa with children Noah, Eden, and Rachel.