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Read Introduction to Ephesians


32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.


Verse 32 gives three positive commands, setting forth a striking contrast to the negative relationship sins of verse 31.

And be [become]

“Be” means become. What we were not at one point, we are to become. As opposed to the rancor of the previous verse, we do something entirely different in this verse.

kind [serviceable] to one another,

Kindness is what is suitable to meet a need. It is far more than being polite to someone. A kind person is one who is benevolent toward others; kindness is the good the Spirit imparts to the believer. This is the opposite of malice, the desire to hurt another; it is the ability to offer grace toward others.


Tenderheartedness is inner affection (1 Pe 3:8). This is the term in the Greek for emotions.

forgiving one another,

“Forgiving” is literally to give freely or being gracious. This is the capacity to forebear another person without penalizing them for what they have done to you.

even as

Just as God forgives, we should forgive.

God in Christ forgave you.

God forgives us “in Christ.” The Greek for “forgave” indicates that our forgiveness for sin took place in the historical past. God does not simply and summarily forgive, but He forgives because of Christ.

Christ’s forgiveness of us underscores all commands in this verse. God gives forgiveness freely through His Son.


The grace that God manifests to us is the grace that we are to manifest to others.


We displace the sins of verse 31 by the virtues of verse 32.

Ro 5:8, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Ro 5:10, For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Those forgiven should understand that others need forgiveness (Mt 18:21-35). Coming to grips with forgiveness will enrich all our relationships. It will open communication with those who offend us. All Christians have their foibles, their idiosyncrasies. We come from different cultures and contexts.