2 October 2022: Tender heart or hard heart?

Bethel Baptist Church
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2 October 2022


Lord give us tender hearts towards all we meet and let us speak the truth in love, Amen!


“Oceans (where feet may fail)” – Hillsong United


And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.  

Eph. 4:32

We are to be tender-hearted people looking to Jesus for our example and the Holy Spirit for inspiration and enablement. We read of Jesus looking on the crowds with compassion and as a result He sought to alleviate their suffering,

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and illness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matt. 9:35-36

The word for tender-hearted in our text, is the same as is used for compassion here but with an added emphasis as in, “well-compassionate” which has been translated “tender-hearted.” The opposite of “tender-hearted” is to be “hard-hearted.” All of us to one degree or another can make ourselves hard-hearted, adding layers of ‘protection’ to our hearts to avoid getting hurt, being vulnerable, not wanting to show our real selves, revealing someone who might appear weak to many, etc. But eventually such hardness will crack up and break for it is not how the Lord intends us to be.

Jesus showed His tender-heartedness, e.g. He wept at Lazarus’ grave as He felt deeply for Mary and Martha’s suffering and the loss of a dear friend,

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  “Where have you laid him?” He asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept.

John 11:33-35

They say John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible but it tells us so much about the tender-heart of Jesus!  Interestingly as in Ephesians 4:32 this command to be “tender-hearted” is linked with “forgiving one another”, e.g.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

Colossians 3:12-13

1 Peter goes even further and exhorts us to repay evil with blessing:

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tender-hearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

1 Pet 3:8-9

And in Philippians it is contrasted with selfish interest and ambition:

Therefore if you have any … tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded …Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Phil 2:1-4

These commands are difficult to do humanly speaking but again looking to Jesus and allowing the Spirit to work within we can be tender-hearted!

Quotes of the week

“There is no such thing as tough love. Love is kind, love is compassionate, love is tender”

Heather Wolf

“Honesty without Compassion is Brutality”

Author Unknown

Verse of the week

You are God’s children whom He loves, so try to be like Him.

Ephesians 5:1 – NCV

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, You never ask us to do something that You will not give us the grace to carry out. So help us to be more tender-hearted towards all people. Let us speak the truth in the love of Christ. Lord fill us with Your Holy Spirit, Amen!