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Tender Communication

August 23, 2010

The first concept of Eph. 4:32 is kindness- using our speech to provide genuine benefit to those who hear us.  The second is tenderness.   The word sympathy seems to be a fitting way to describe this idea.  Not sympathy in the sense of feeling pity for someone who is in a difficult situation. Sympathy in the sense of coming into harmony and understanding with what someone is going through.  Sympathy, in this sense, is the putting of one’s self into the shoes of another that you may best understand how to minister to them in their situation.  Now, don’t mistake this.  The world excuses behavior by using by suggesting that if we really understood a persons circumstances we would do essentially the same thing.  It denies the ability to offer judgment on anothers choices without first having gone through similar circumstances.  This worldly sympathy is not what Paul is alluding to.  Excusing sinful behavior or wrong reactions is not helpful, therefore it does not meet the first criteria of this verse, kindness.  Tenderness does not justify sin, but it does recognize extenuating circumstances and natural human weakness.  Tenderness should temper the conversation so that one does not jump to conclusions or assume motives.  Tenderness is shown in a willingness to discover the other side of the story.  It is manifest in the tendency to seek as full an understanding as possible. Tenderness has at its root Biblical love and humility.  Biblical love because it does not first seek its own benefit and gain, because it is not easily provoked and because it does not assume evil of anyone.   Biblical humility because it values others over itself.  A tender heart towards others will be seen in an honesty and charity in our communication.  It will not be unnecessarily harsh.  It will not respond out of proportion to the issue.  It will be patient.  It will strive to respond to those around with a graciously and Biblically.  Let us practice tenderness in our conversations, compassionately and humbly upholding others for good.

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