Prayer: Dear God, thank you for sending your Son to die for my sins. Help me to be kind to all I meet. Let me be tenderhearted and merciful to all your children. Help me to forgive all who have done me wrong. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Reading: Ephesians 4:32 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: This was a verse I tried to instill in the hearts of the children I taught at Temple Christian Academy. At first glance this verse seems easy. Then as I look at it, it is a verse that I do not always find myself following. We are to be kind to each other. We are to treat each other with at is easier said than done sometimes. We all like to joke and kid around, but sometimes it gets out of hand. Then before you know it, people’s feelings are getting hurt. That is when the next part of the verse needs to be put into action. Forgiveness! We need to forgive because we have been forgiven by God. That is not just any ordinary forgiveness. Christ took on all our sin and died on the cross for us. That is really powerful.
This verse comes from a part of Ephesians when Paul is telling the new Christians of Ephesus how to act as a community of Christians. It was hard since the Jews and the Gentiles followed different rules, but now they had to treat each other as brothers and sisters of Christ. They did not always understand each other. These new Christians needed to be reminded that they are to do as God does. God loves them all, so they are to love each other.
That goes for all of us, too. I have to remind myself that I do not know what I going on in another person’s life so I need to treat everyone in a loving manner. I have to be kind and tenderhearted with them, even if they are treating me differently. I need to see them as fellow children of God and forgive them even if they treat me unjustly. I know I will still fail at times; but, I can still strive to do my best and treat everyone as kindly as I can.
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