The Powerful Ephesians 4:32 Meaning (be kind and compassionate)

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

This is one of the most practical and impactful verses in Ephesians. Following what this verse says cannot only transform your life but also make an impact on people around you. The Ephesians 4:32 meaning is often overlooked, but it should be a marker for how Christians live. 

I believe this verse can transform how you live out your faith. If you take a few minutes to learn about this verse I think you will come away encouraged and challenged. 

The Context Of Ephesians 4:32

Before we can look at the meaning of Ephesians 4:32 let’s start by looking at what led up to these words. 

The book of Ephesians was written by Paul and addresses some problems that the church of Ephesus was facing. The encouragement throughout this book/letter is to correct their issues and keep following Jesus. 

In Ephesians 4 we find out that many in this church had drifted back into their old ways and habits rather than living the new life that Jesus had provided. Paul is challenging his readers to live a life worthy of their calling. (Ephesians 4:1)

Throughout this chapter Paul continually uses the word “new” and contrasts it with “old.” In Ephesians 4:22-24 Paul is showing that the characteristics of the old are different than that of the new. The challenge is to put on the “new self” and follow Jesus. 

This leads Paul to give some basic and practical instructions on what this means. In Ephesians 4:17-32 we find a highly practical explanation of what a follower of Jesus ought to do. 

It’s at the end of this explanation that we find the verse we are looking at in this blog post. Let’s take a look at the Ephesians 4:32 meaning and see what we can learn. 

The Ephesians 4:32 Meaning

This verse is one of the most important and impactful things we can do as Christians. It’s something that we find throughout the Bible, including in Jesus’ teaching. In other words, we should pay attention to the meaning of Ephesians 4:32. 

Be Kind And Compassionate To One Another

“Be kind and compassionate to one another.” Paul is telling this church, and us today, to show kindness. And let’s be honest, if you’ve been a part of a church before you know that this can be challenging. 

The word Paul uses here that is translated as compassionate is eusplanchnoi and it means to be tenderhearted. In other words, Christians shouldn’t be brash or known for having harsh attitudes. Rather we ought to be known for being gentle, loving, and compassionate. 

In Luke 10:25-37 Jesus illustrates this with the story of the Good Samaritan (ADD LINK). He shows us what it looks like to be compassionate and kind, even to the people we don’t like. 

Forgiving Each Other Just As In Christ God Forgave You

To be compassionate and tenderhearted should lead us to forgive one another. Note the extent that which Paul says we are to forgive others, as Christ forgave you. We have been forgiven much, therefore we are called to forgive. 

Forgiveness is at the heart of Christianity. We follow a God who has forgiven us of our debts, and now in response, we forgive others who have wronged us. 

This isn’t fair, but neither is the forgiveness God extends to us. He gives us what we need and not what we deserve. Now it’s our turn to do the same for others. 

How Ephesians 4:32 Applies To Your Life 

Now that we know the Ephesians 4:32 meaning, I want to end by giving you two ways you can apply this to your life. 

1. Be Kind 

I know it sounds cliche, but showing kindness to others makes a huge difference. The world is not a very kind place, and you don’t have to look very hard to see someone being unkind. We might not be able to change the world, but we can change someone’s life. 

If followers of Jesus practiced being compassionate and kind I believe we would see lives changed. I know this can be challenging; sometimes we would rather give people what they deserve. But remember, God shows us compassion when we deserve condemnation. Choose kindness. 

2. Forgive Those Who Have Hurt You

Our relationships with others have a direct impact on our relationship with God. We cannot love God and hate a person he created. Our lack of forgiveness will affect our relationship with God. 

I’m not trying to downplay the hurt that others have caused us. And this certainly doesn’t mean you instantly forgive. It’s a process and it can take time. But start moving toward forgiving others. 

Ephesians 4:32 challenges us to forgive those who have hurt us. We have been forgiven of much, therefore we are to forgive others

Jesus is our ultimate example; he doesn’t ask us to do anything he’s not willing to do himself. He forgave us while we were still sinners. We didn’t deserve it, but he showed us love and compassion. Now it’s our turn to do the same. 

Now check out: 9 Powerful Truths You Need To Know About Forgiveness In The Bible

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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