Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Where You Get the Strength
My dad had to say it to me and my siblings so often that he ended up abbreviating it. “ABK!” he would call out to the back seats of the station wagon. “ABK!” he would yell upstairs where our bedrooms were. “ABK!” he would say in the backyard while sitting in his lawn chair near the grill and watching us play.
“ABK” stood for Always Be Kind.
We knew Christians were supposed to be kind. We had heard the Bible verse, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” But it was so hard! Siblings were so annoying and obnoxious! And whatever it was, they did it on purpose!
It’s difficult for adults to be kind and compassionate as well. Being unkind seems to come naturally. To be honest, it’s easy to prove that other people don’t deserve our kindness. Unkindness seems to come just as naturally to them as it does to me.
Where will I ever get the strength to forgive unkind people?
The strength will come from realizing that God has forgiven me even when I don’t deserve it. I will get the strength from seeing how Christ treated me even when I was a sinner. My own forgiveness from a kind and compassionate God will give me the strength to be kind and compassionate as well.
There is a hint in the Lord’s Prayer. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” When I call on God to forgive my sins, I am called to do the same for all those unkind people around me.
“Forgive our sins as we forgive,” you taught us, Lord, to pray, but you alone can grant us grace to live the words we say. Amen.