Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
It is really easy in this life to get preoccupied with the troubles and trials, the hurts, the ugliness, the disappointments that we experience from other people. It is easy to resent other people’s faults and accuse them, especially when those faults affect us. I think we all feel it at times if we are honest.
This little poem from my mom’s collection struck me when I read it.
Why Not Be Kind?
So brief a time we have to stay
Along this dear familiar way;
It seems to me we should be kind
To those whose lives touch yours and mine.
The hands that serve us every day
Should we not help them while we may?
They are so kind that none can guess
How soon they’ll cease our lives to bless.
So many faults in life there are
We need not go to seek them far;
But time is short and you and I,
Might let the little faults go by.
-- Author Unknown
This reminds me of Proverbs 19:11, The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
Yes, there are surely things in this life that need to be dealt with. There are offences that need to be addressed. But, in all honesty, there are so many things we think we need to straighten out that either don’t need to be touched by us at all, or that need to be approached with more kindness than accusation or judgment. Some may error on the side of letting things pass that should be taken care of, but I suspect that many of us tend toward dissecting other people’s faults that we could let go by.
From my own experience, I know there have been times when I wanted very much to say something to someone about a specific problem – as I saw it. For one reason or another – perhaps a caution from my husband or family member, lack of opportunity, or just deciding to wait – I have sometimes not done so when I thought I “should”, only to find out later that either that person was not ready at that time, was hurting or overwhelmed by life, or that the Lord took care of it without my meddling! Oh, how humbling to realize that my concerns and intentions to “correct” were totally unneeded by my Lord or were thwarted by His sovereign will.
We’re told that it is glory to pass over a transgression.
I know. Someone may be thinking that some things shouldn’t be passed over. This is true. But we need to examine scripture to be sure that what we think worth addressing is something God would want us to deal with. Sometimes, even things that seem very important to us really are not in the economy of God.
But, it is to our glory to pass over some things, to let them go without comment, to cover them in love.
Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
Proverbs 17:9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
How quick we are sometimes to speak and expose! This is something I need to work on myself.
Think how many things Jesus must have passed over while He was living with his disciples those three years of His ministry. Surely He did not spend all His time with them picking apart everything they said, or they would more than likely have given up and left Him along with all the others who did. He did correct them at times, but there is a great deal we can learn from His kindness, both to those He lived among and to ourselves. We don’t get the correction that we justly deserve. Why can’t we pass some of that kindness forward in the name of Jesus Christ?
Psalms 130:3-4 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
This, of course, brings us back to our attribute of God for this month – Forgiveness. And, after all, aren’t kindness and forgiveness unbreakably connected?
Colossians 3:12-13 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.