I want to start with Psalm 145:9 again. It says, “The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” Five times in this Psalm, we find ‘works’ in David’s words. You can read them for yourself: verses 4, 5, 9, 10, and 17. We are part of His works. Ephesians 2:10 says that we are His workmanship.
It is essential to remember that every trial in our lives is covered with His tender mercies. Tenderness is one of the Lord’s attributes. We are bid, in 2 Peter 1:4, to be partakers of His nature. How many folks do you personally know that exemplifies the Lord’s character of tenderness? It is a rarity. Why?
Colossians 3:12 is our mandate. It says, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering.” The Amplified helps us. It says, “Clothe yourselves…by putting on behavior marked by) tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, (and) patience (which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper).”
Tenderness is a heart issue. When there is any unresolved issue in our hearts, it will block any heart response of tenderness. Colossians 3:12 is bursting with truths that will keep us free to serve the Lord with gladness. I want to unpack it a little bit. It’s too full to cover in one sitting.
Tenderness is a character quality that is only revealed through one who is wholly submitted to the Holy Spirit. I think a cousin to tenderness is gentleness. Here is Strong’s definition of gentleness: a disposition that is even-tempered, tranquil, balanced in spirit, unpretentious, and that has the passions under control. The person who possesses this quality pardons injuries, corrects faults, and rules his own spirit well.
Let’s look at this from Ephesians 4:22 and 24. It says, “That you put off, concerning your former conduct…and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Sandwiched in between these two verses, verse 23 says, “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”
If there is bitterness in our heart, we have to deal with that first. We cannot ‘put on’ the new man’s character over the old man’s carnal behavior. We must take off the bitterness through repentance. Then we renew our mind. Let’s let Ephesians 4:31 speak. It says, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.” When we recognize the fruit of our emotional walls, we can correct our course.
Tenderness in our interpersonal relationships is God’s strategic tool to tear down emotional walls ~ ours and others. When we exemplify this character quality of the Lord, we are His shining light that will dispel the darkness in other’s hearts. Folks with emotional walls are prickly. Our physical or emotional pain is never an excuse for being caustic, bitter, or ornery. We are called to walk as Jesus walked. Luke 6:35 says, “…He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”