Be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
1 Thessalonians 5:15
See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves and to all men.
I've been convicted by these verses lately. And not because I've been unkind, necessarily. I don't tend to be unkind intentionally, generally. Though I am often ignorantly unkind.
Rather, when others, my brothers and sisters, are unkind or when I perceive that they are being unkind I am quick to foster resentment within myself and these verses have exposed this tendency to me as sin.
If I repay unkindness with unkindness, I am multiplying sin.
If I foster bitterness within myself over the unkindness of my brothers and sisters I am multiplying sin.
If I have been wronged I have no license to be bitter, I have no license to be unkind in return. Rather, I am commanded to forgive, to be kind, to be tender hearted.
I need to get hold of how poisonous bitterness is and that when God commands that there be no bitterness among us, it's because bitterness is deadly. Deadly to me, and deadly to our fellowship.
Even if I am right in my bitterness, even if I have been wronged, I am wrong to be bitter and I am multiplying sin.
It makes me joyful that God commands such extreme purity of heart that there be no grudges among us, no disunity, no fear, no resentment, no dislike, no discomfort but that we be joined together, sharing everything, our fellowship fueled by a love that comes from the very heart of God: the love of Jesus.
God commands it.
There is no expectation that there will be no unkindness, no wrong, no misunderstanding, no disunity among us but there is this command that when there is unkindness, when there is wrong, when there is misunderstanding, when there is disunity we respond with tender hearts, with kindness, with forgiveness.
This is how the unity of our fellowship will be preserved.