Do you know the secret to a lasting marriage? Kindness! It is a choice that we all make on a daily basis, but it is like giving water to a thirsty soul, knowing how thirsty we have also been in the past.

When my husband and I meet with engaged couples, we include this verse in our discussions with them. In their starry-eyed love, they cannot imagine ever being anything but kind and forgiving with each other, but as years go by, unkind words are spoken and unkind deeds are done because even people who love each other are selfish at their core and will lash out in self-defense when threatened.

We all have tender hearts as children, but over the years they often they get walled up in self-protection once we start to feel the unkindness of others. Getting back to a tender heart takes time; it means allowing God to break down walls and then choosing to be vulnerable again. Jesus kept his tender heart throughout: he wept at the death of Lazarus, he agonized over the city of Jerusalem, and he forgave those who crucified him as well as the disciples who ran away in fear.

Do you have a tender heart? Are you still moved by what moves the heart of God, an unconditional love that keeps pursuing the broken-hearted and desires to heal wounds? Choosing to be kind and forgiving to people who do not deserve it is the ultimate example Christ has set for us!

Father, How often I have been on the receiving end of your kind and tender heart towards me. How can I not extend kindness and forgiveness to others? Please show me how to have a tender heart once more that is willing to be vulnerable like Christ was even on the cross. Amen!

Throughout This Day: Is there someone to whom you can extend kindness and forgiveness today? Allow God to break down any walls surrounding your heart so that you can reach out with tenderness to others who need to be loved, even if you think they do not deserve it.

Tags: Daily Devotional Ephesians 4
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