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Advice from One Older

Today's Devotional

Be kind and compassionate to one another. Ephesians 4:32

“What do I regret?” That was the question New York Times bestselling writer George Saunders answered in his 2013 commencement speech at Syracuse University. His approach was that of an older person (Saunders) who shared one or two regrets he’d had in life with the younger people (graduates) who could learn something from his examples. He listed a few things people might assume he regretted, like being poor and working terrible jobs. But Saunders said he really didn’t regret those at all. What he did regret, however, were failures of kindness—those opportunities he had to be kind to someone, and he let them pass.

The apostle Paul wrote to the believers at Ephesus answering this question: What does the Christian life look like? It’s tempting to rush in with our answers, like possessing a particular political view, avoiding certain books or films, worshiping in a particular manner. But Paul’s approach didn’t limit him to contemporary issues. He does mention abstaining from “unwholesome talk” (Ephesians 4:29) and ridding ourselves of things like bitterness and anger (v. 31). Then to conclude his “speech,” in essence, he says to the Ephesians as well as to us, “Don’t fail to be kind” (v. 32). And the reason behind that is because in Christ, God has been kind to you.

Of all the things we believe the life in Jesus to be, one of them, surely, is to be kind.

Where have you recently failed to be kind? What’s one way you can succeed in kindness today?

Dear Jesus, as You’ve been kind to me, let me be kind to others.


Paul admonishes the Ephesian believers in Jesus to “not let any unwholesome talk come out of [their] mouths” (4:29). The word for “unwholesome” is sapros, which means “rotten” or “worthless.” The same word is used to describe bad or spoiled produce (“a bad tree bears bad fruit,” Matthew 7:17) or decaying meat and fish (they “threw the bad [fish] away,” 13:48). It indicates something is of poor quality or unfit for use. The apostle is telling the Ephesians that in the same way that one wouldn’t put rotten food into their mouths, they shouldn’t let anything rotten come out. This teaching is reminiscent of what Jesus said in Mark 7:20-23: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

By |2024-05-29T02:33:13-04:00May 29th, 2024|
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