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Tenderhearted

Music has a strange ability to subvert our mind in a way that normal words cannot. For some reason, I can struggle to remember why I walked into a room or what I needed to get from the store, but the lyrics to "1-877-Kars 4 Kids" are still firmly lodged inside my brain, seemingly impossible to escape.


My favorite type of inescapable music is the songs that are completely made up. Typically, it is a parent or a teacher who just adds words to a familiar tune, and now it is permanently locked in your memory as an alternate version of "Yankee Doodle."


For me, this is a way that I have learned so many memory verses. One of the most memorable made-up memory verse songs was a song about Ephesians 4:32: "Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." This verse has grown on me over the years since I first learned it in grade school. The word that has stuck with me is “tenderhearted.” I am not entirely sure why this word has captivated me, but I think it stems from how tangible that word is. The Greek word that is used here is only used in one other spot in the Bible, and in each place, it can be translated as tenderhearted or compassionate.


I know there are times in my life where I have felt my heart be hardened or cold to the people around me. I have been quick to anger and slow to forgive. Instead of looking at others the way that Jesus looked at us, with a heart that was tender and full of compassion, I have decided to hold grudges and be angry.


Often times when we think of Jesus, we forget that his compassion toward us is not a requirement. Jesus had no obligation to forgive us. He had no one forcing him to come to earth, live a perfect life, and die in our place. Yet, he did.


That is the redeeming power of the gospel. Despite being without obligation, Jesus came and forgave us in one incredible moment, and in that moment, he showed us that we can do the same thing. We can be kind, compassionate, and tenderhearted not because it is our natural inclination but rather because we had a forgiving Savior who showed us how to do it. Jesus modeled perfect forgiveness so that we could see him do it and that we could follow in that same way.


So, I invite you today to follow Jesus’ path and look to be tenderhearted and forgiving with the people in your lives in the radical way that Jesus was to each and every one of us when he came, died, and rose again.

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