Tenderhearted Thankfulness

This past week, during my devotional time, I came across I
Peter 3:8b.  Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.  I have been meditating on that simple phrase,
be tenderhearted off and on since
then.  What does that mean?  What does it practically look like in my day
to day life?  It is not a word that we
often use today.  It means to be easily
moved to love, pity or sorrow it is a synonym of a more common word, compassion.  These are traits we love to experience in
others—but at times we can find them difficult to implement ourselves!

Paul, writing to Christians, encourages us in Ephesians
4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage,
anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God through Christ has forgiven
you.

 Colossians 3:12 Above all, clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness,
humility, gentleness and patience.

Being tenderhearted is a gateway to action in many
cases.  Reading through the gospels we
see where Jesus was “moved” with compassion to do things for others.  Hardening our hearts keeps us self-oriented,
where walking with a tender heart gives us an others centered perspective.  Fear of God asking too much from us in loving
those around us makes us draw our feet from the path of action, instead of
trusting God’s leading and knowledge that He cares for us as well. 

How can develop or keep our hearts tender?  Worship, praise, thankfulness and obedience
are tools the Holy Spirit can use to soften hard areas of our hearts.  It is our responsibility to keep our hearts
tender. Difficult circumstances, hurt feelings, disappointments, un-forgiveness
all bring a separating shell between us and others.    When
the Holy Spirit or our conscious makes us aware of this separation, we face a
choice.  Do we obey, or do we stay away
from Him? When I have said yes to His tenderizing experiences, I am always
thankful in the end.

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you develop a tender heart.  Ask Him to show you where you may have grown
cold and hard.  It takes courage, but it
is so worth it.  As we read those areas
where Jesus responded with compassion, we see miracles take place.  As we respond to His leading with our tender
hearts, we too can experience more God stories. 

Practice with those around you—especially your family.  It will draw you together.  If you discover certain areas or people that
trigger a hardened response, take the time to ask Him to show you the root of
the issue.  God loves tenderizing us!   Remind yourself that at the foot of the cross
we are all equal.  Jesus dies to save
each of us from our sin.  I’m so thankful
He did!