Some kids like to talk about things like guts and other subjects they deem gross.
But did you know there’s a verse in the Bible that tells us we are to live with guts? The verse is one many of us know: Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32) As I was teaching this verse to young elementaries recently, I thought about the word tenderhearted. Yes, on the surface, we all know what it means, to act gentle and kind toward someone … but is there more to it than that?
And so I looked it up.
The root of the word tenderhearted in Ephesians 4:32 comes from two Greek words: eu which means good, right, well done and splagchnon which means our internal organs: liver, heart, lungs, etc. – our very guts.
But what does that mean – how can we be tenderhearted and live with guts?
Think about it like this. As you’re shopping for soccer-game snacks with your son Aiden, he sees the mom of a preschool friend. Aiden is now in middle school and you haven’t had contact with the family for seven years, It’s good to catch up. As you’re talking, the lady mentions her daughter is having some health issues. You express your sympathies, tell her you’ll be praying for the family, and your son asks the lady to tell her daughter “hello.” You do quickly pray for the girl right there in the produce aisle. Then you and Aiden continue looking for juice and granola bars and don’t think about the girl much more.
When you expressed your sympathies, you meant what you said. You weren’t being untruthful, but the words weren’t truly coming from your gut. You were being kind on the surface, but not truly tenderhearted.
As you continue shopping, you meet another mom – this mom’s son is on the same soccer team as Aiden. Because your sons are friends,. your family knows this family has been going through some tough financial times, so after chatting for awhile and realizing that the job situation is still stressful, you and your son make a plan. After getting the soccer snacks, you buy more groceries and then secretly leave them on the family’s doorstep. Your son sacrificially donates some of his money to anonymously send his friend a sports store gift certificate. He knows the boy needs new soccer shoes. You and your husband add to the amount. Your family prays for the other family at dinner each night, asking the Lord for wisdom in knowing how to continue to help them. Your husband checks with the HR department in his company and finds that an opening is coming up that the dad might be able to fill. He passes along the information. A couple weeks later, you again send an anonymous gift – this time a gift certificate to a restaurant so the family can enjoy a night out. You care about this family and want to do everything you can to help them – you are being tenderhearted.
No, we can’t help every needy person in the world or even in our town, but we can look for ways to be consistent in our tenderheartedness – living with guts – in our relationships with those around us.
Have a “living with guts” adventure with your kids. Who can you help today?