"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."* Ephesians 4:32 (KJV)
Clarke's Commentary on Ephesians 4:32
"Be ye kind one to another - Be kind and obliging to each other; study good breeding and gentleness of manners. A Christian cannot be a savage, and he need not be a boor. Never put any person to needless pain... Tender-hearted - Compassionate; having the bowels easily moved (as the word implies) to commiserate the state of the wretched and distressed... Forgiving one another - Should you receive any injury from a brother, or from any man, be as ready to forgive him, on his repentance and acknowledgment, as God was, for Christ's sake, to forgive you when you repented of your sins, and took refuge in his mercy....
5. A roughness of manners is to some unavoidable; it is partly owing to the peculiar texture of their mind, and partly to their education. But there are others who glory in, and endeavor to cultivate, this ungentle disposition; under this is often concealed a great degree of spiritual pride, and perhaps some malignity; for they think that this roughness gives them a right to say grating, harsh, and severe things. They should be taught another lesson; and if they will not demean themselves as they ought, they should be left to themselves, and no man should associate with them. They are not Christians, and they act beneath the character of men."
Barnes' Notes on Ephesians 4:32
"And be ye kind one to another - Benignant, mild, courteous, "polite" - stoi. 1 Peter 3:8. Christianity produces true courteousness, or politeness. It does not make one rough, crabby, or sour; nor does it dispose its followers to violate the proper rules of social contact. The secret of true politeness is "benevolence," or a desire to make others happy; and a Christian should be the most polite of people. There is no religion in a sour, misanthropic temper; none in rudeness, stiffness, and repulsiveness; none in violating the rules of good breeding. There is a hollow-hearted politeness, indeed, which the Christian is not to aim at or copy. His politeness is to be based on "kindness;" Colossians 3:12. His courtesy is to be the result of love, good-will, and a desire of the happiness of all others; and this will prompt to the kind of conduct that will render his conversation. with others agreeable and profitable.
Tender-hearted - Having a heart disposed to pity and compassion, and especially disposed to show kindness to the faults of erring brethren; for so the connection demands. Forgiving one another - see the notes on Matthew 6:12. As God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you - As God, on account of what Christ has suffered and done, has pardoned you. He has done it: (1) "freely" - without merit on your part - when we were confessedly in the wrong. (2) "fully;" he has forgiven "every" offence. (3) "Liberally;" he has forgiven "many" offences, for our sins have been innumerable.
This is to be the rule which we are to observe in forgiving others. We are to do it "freely, fully, liberally." The forgiveness is to be entire, cordial, constant. We are not to "rake up" old offences, and charge them again upon them; we are to treat them as though they had not offended, for so God treats us.
Learn: (1) That the forgiveness of an offending brother is a duty which we are not at liberty to neglect. (2) the peace and happiness of the church depend on it. All are liable to offend their brethren, as all are liable to offend God; all need forgiveness of one another, as we all need it of God. (3) there is no danger of carrying it too far. Let the rule be observed, "As God has forgiven you, so do you forgive others." Let a man recollect his own sins and follies; let him look over his life, and see how often he has offended God; let him remember that all has been forgiven; and then, fresh with this feeling, let him go and meet an offending brother, and say, "My brother, I forgive you. I do it frankly, fully, wholly. So Christ has forgiven me; so I forgive you. The offence shall be no more remembered. It shall not be referred to in our contact to harrow up your feelings; it shall not diminish my love for you; it shall not prevent my uniting with you in doing good. Christ treats me, a poor sinner, as a friend; and so I will treat you." (Ephesians 4:32/KJV/godvine)
* Food for thought for us all today, tomorrow and as long as we shall live within these temporal bodies. Comments?