Motions of Love
Have you ever experienced genuine kindness from another? When you do, you don’t forget it. I remember, as young church planter with three small children, struggling to make ends meet, being desperately in need of a dependable second car. I never said anything about it, but a man in our church family stepped up and offered to let me drive a truck he had leased and wasn’t really using anymore. He offered to let me drive that truck for a year for absolutely free, giving Lori and me a chance to save up for our second car. That was so kind of that fellow believer and I’ll never forget it.
What is kindness? In the Bible, kindness is characterized by benevolence and tenderness. It is an act of love. Love is not an emotion, it is a motion. Love is far more than a feeling, it is an action. Kindness is a motion of love! There are many ways we can show love for one another. The Apostle Paul offered some clarity on ways that we can show love to one another in Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 3:13. One of those “motions” of love is kindness. Can you see any others?
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
There are at least four motions of of love in these two “one another” verses… kindness, compassion, patience and forgiveness. What does it look like to go through these “motions of love” to strengthen all our relationships?
1) Be kind to one another. 32 Be kind… to one another, Ephesians 4:32a. Sounds simple enough… Most of us would say, “I can check that box.” But what does it really mean to “be kind”? We know it is an act of benevolence, but what else do we know about kindness? In Ephesians 4:31, Paul tells us what kindness is not as he implores us to get rid of these unkind behaviors… 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:31. Are any of these behaviors present in your life? If so, you will have trouble building healthy, God-honoring relationships. Ask the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit of kindness in your life!
2) Be compassionate to one another. 32 Be… compassionate to one another. Ephesians 4:32b. Compassion means to suffer with; to be moved; to have pity and distress for one suffering and to act on it. Are you a compassionate person? Some people have to work harder at showing compassion than others, but God wants us to show compassion to those around us who are hurting and in need. Jesus offered a vivid illustration of compassion in His account of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). The good Samaritan showed love for a person in need by going out of his way to serve him. Is there anyone in your life right now who needs your compassion?
3) Be patient with one another. 13 Bear with each other… Colossians 3:13a; 4 Love is patient, 1 Corinthians 13:4a. Are you a patient person? Someone said, “patience is a virtue”, and it definitely is; in fact it is a fruit of the Spirit. Patience means long-suffering; to wait for; to abide; an abiding-under, as in trials. Do you ever get a chance to practice patience in your life? Sure you do, multiple times a day! I was thinking about some of the characteristics of patience in relationships:
Patience pushes pride aside… To be patient is to be humble and gentle; to bear with one another in love. Do you know what can destroy a relationship? Pride. Paul was imploring Believers to push pride aside and embrace humility. Pride always has to win. Pride always has to be right. Pride always has to get it’s way. Is pride present in your life? Push pride aside and practice patience.
Patience doesn’t give up… Paul wanted Believers to stand by one another in love… to not give up on one another. There will be people in life who will rub you the wrong way, but patience says, “I’m going to abide, especially when it is hard and difficult and I want to throw in the towel. There is a reason patience is translated “long-suffering”.
Patience is not permissive where sin is involved… If sin is present in a relationship, then that sin must be addressed. In that case we speak truth, in love. We hold one another accountable with an opportunity for forgiveness and restoration.
Patience preserves peace… When we are patient, we are far more likely to experience peace and avoid conflict in relationships. If you are constantly in conflict, then it may be time to exercise patience… bearing with one another in love. I’m not saying it is easy, that is why patience is a fruit of the Spirit! So pray for it!
4) Forgive one another. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32. (Col. 3:13; 1 Cor. 13:5)
Max Lucado tells a story about a man who was bitten by a dog. When he learned the dog had rabies, the man began making a list. The doctor told him there was no need to make a will, that rabies could be cured. “Oh, I’m not making a will,” the man said. “I’m making a list of all the people I want to bite!”
We could all make that list… the truth is there are plenty of people in your life who have hurt you, wronged you, disappointed you, pained you… even in your own family. The Apostle Paul knew it happened in the church family too, because people are far from perfect. He also knew that it was imperative that people were willing to forgive one another… and that means not keeping a tally of all the wrongs people have done to us.
If you are a record keeper, maybe you aren’t being honest about the wrongs you have committed too. Do you want others keeping record of your wrongs against them? Do you want God keeping a record of your wrongs against Him? (Matt. 6:12, 14). As Christ-followers, we forgive because we have been forgiven. We of all people understand forgiveness, so we must offer it to one another.
For much more, click here to watch One Another - Part 3.