"Stop being mean, bad-tempered and angry. Quarreling, harsh words and dislike of others should have no place in your lives. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you because you belong to Christ." (Ephesians 4:31-32 TLB)

As I was busy giving my two year old granddaughter her lunch the other day. I had to remind her several times that the food was hot and to be careful and blow on it. Although I was eating my food without any problem, her little mouth is still very tender and what is not too hot for me, is still too hot for her.

This little scenario brought today's Scripture verses to my mind. It reminded me that just as over the years, my lips and tongue and mouth have become much less sensitive to hot food, my mind can also become much less sensitive to others around me.

Relationships are difficult things to maneuver. Whether it is a relationship within a marriage, with our children or parents, within the church, or our jobs or with our neighbours, or even other drivers sharing or not sharing the road, relationships are always changing and creating challenges. And sometimes as we grow older cynicism can very easily set in. We get sick and tired of always putting up with the same behaviour, or what we consider unacceptable behaviour in others which can gradually erode the tender-hearts God has blessed us with through our relationship with Christ. We get caught up nattering away to ourselves about how others have or are or we think are going to treat us and before we know it quarreling, harsh words and the dislike of others can become common place within our behaviour.|

But God has given us a cure for such hard-heartedness. He instructs us to be kind to each other and tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as He has forgiven us because of Christ. God knows that if we just step out and start being kind and tender towards others, whether we may feel like it or not, those acts or words of kindness begin to work their power upon our cynicism.

Just as blowing on hot food cools it down, doing acts of kindness when we feel hot tempered towards others, cools our attitude down and allows room for the Holy Spirit to begin to change it into God's attitude toward others within us. And as this happens forgiveness becomes easier and easier amidst any and all situations and relationships.

So today may each of us consider through the guiding power of prayer, the state of our own heart. Has it become hard hearted in regards to our relationships with others? Has there been any quarreling, hard words or the dislike of others within our realm? If the answer is "yes" may we make the decision to embrace God's cure for this condition and begin, whether we feel like it or not, to be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven us because we belong to Christ.

Prayer: Father God we come to You today and ask that You would search our hearts and reveal any hard-heartedness within us. Bless us with obedience toward Your cure for this condition and strengthen us to just step out and begin acting upon it that our hearts may be restored to the tender condition You desire within us. In Christ's name we prayer. Amen.

Lynne Phepps
Atlin, B.C.