Try a Little Tenderness
Scripture Reading — Colossians 3:1-4, 12-17
1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. —
Be kind and compassionate to one another ... Be imitators of God ... Ephesians 4:32-5:1
"Truly gracious affections are associated with the gentle spirit of Jesus Christ," writes Jonathan Edwards. "Jesus Christ had a remarkably tender and affectionate heart. He is the shepherd whom the flock should follow" and will follow. "True Christians are those clothed with the meek, quiet, and loving spirit of Christ. When they are in Christ, they have put on Christ... The influence of holy love [for Jesus] and hope [in Jesus] is effective upon the heart, making it tender. The higher that holy hope is raised, the more there is Christian tenderness...
"The tender heart of a true Christian is vividly illustrated by our Savior when he compares it to a little child... [A child's] heart is easily moved and influenced. As a small child readily sympathizes and weeps with them that weep because he cannot bear to see others in distress, so does the Christian.
"Of course, even true Christians still have remnants of a contrary spirit. But there are no true Christians who live in the prevailing power of such a spirit so that it becomes truly their character. The Scripture speaks of no real Christians who have an ugly, selfish, angry, and contentious spirit." Rather, Christ's gentle spirit "so possesses and governs them that it becomes their true and proper character."
You are "the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these [you] delight." May your delight be ours as well, Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen.