The A, B, Cs of Loving One Another, “K”

By Elaine Baldwin| @elainehbaldwin

Kindness is love. I Corinthians 13:4 “…love is kind…” The Bible puts these two qualities together. Kindness is, in fact, tenderhearted love that forgives one another.

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

Ouch! Is God really saying in order to be lovingly (tenderhearted) kind, I must forgive? Yep, that is exactly what God is saying!

But, don’t most of us associate kindness with familiar etiquette rules like saying “Please” and “Thank you?” Do you think like me, “If I mind my manners I am being kind and that’s good enough?”

And I would dare say that few of us consider ourselves to be an unkind, unloving person just because we haven’t forgiven the co-worker who stole our idea and gained the promotion we deserved. After all we have every right to be upset about that. And besides I would never let that soured relationship spill over into my other relationships and attitudes.

This “love one another puzzle” is getting more complex the more I study Jesus’ expectations and example and we move through the alphabet. And quite frankly, I don’t think I have put these particular puzzle pieces together in my life which explains the fragmentation in my relationships new and old.

According to Jesus there is no way I can harbor bitterness or resentment toward one person and expect to flourish in my other relationships, including my relationship with Him.

In fact Jesus felt so strongly about this He tells us to put our offering to Him down, go back to the someone who we are at odds with and make that connection right. Only then can we come to Jesus with our offering and have a fully restored and meaningful relationship with Him.

Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Matthew 5:23-24

There is a famous line in the old 1970 movie, Love Story, which in an unintentional way very astutely elaborates on these verses. You’ll have to stay with me here.

Are you old enough to know the move and line I am speaking of?

Jennifer Cavilleri (Ali McGraw) is dying. Oliver Barrett IV (Ryan O’Neil) is at her bedside. He wants to make something right before she dies and tries to say he is sorry. She stops him and with an imploring gaze tells him…

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

This obviously impacts the husband because after his wife dies, Oliver bumps into his estranged dad (Ray Miland) who also wants to clear the air and make things right. He tries to say he is sorry, but the son rebuffs him and repeats his late wife’s timeless words…

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

As I recall the movie ends with the father and son embracing and the movie goer is left with a feeling of sadness yet hope that everything in the end will be alright because they will never have to say they are sorry again.

I am quite sure the writer’s intended meaning was if you really love someone you won’t expect them to apologize; in fact with true love apologies just aren’t necessary.

I concur. Are you surprised?

It isn’t that I don’t think apologies are necessary. I think apologies are not biblical! A mere apology has nothing to do with kindness or love. Telling someone, “I’m sorry” doesn’t come anywhere close to meeting God’s standard for “making things right.”

Now are you surprised?

Let’s look at the definition of apology.

“A written or spoken expression of one’s regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another.”

Do you see anything in this definition about seeking the forgiveness from the one who has been insulted, failed, injured or wronged? Is there anything in this definition that even remotely implies the intent to restore the relationship to a better position than where it is currently?

The answer to the above questions is a resounding, “No!” The only thing an apology does is admit that the one apologizing has regret, remorse or sorrow. It does not inherently mean the person seeks forgiveness or wants the relationship restored.

We all know this is true. Some of us still cuddle the bitterness toward a sibling that was told “Go tell your sister you’re sorry” or “You apologize to your brother right now.” She did what she was told. He said the words. He may even have meant them, but he never sought our forgiveness.

We may have said the obligatory, “It’s alright.” Our parents probably made us shake hands or hug to “make up.” But little if anything was restored. She was sorry she got caught. He may have even been sorry he made us cry. But whatever the core issue was that exploded into a sibling “fight” was never addressed.

So, decades later some of us still cringe, still cry or still pound our fist when we think about the jealousy or the gossip or the distrust that was at the heart of the “fight.”

How much better it would’ve been to follow Jesus’ example, even as children, to seek forgiveness and to extend forgiveness. This is true kindness. This is true love.

There is nothing easy or simple about it. If it were, everyone would be seeking and extending and the world really would be a better place. We all know it isn’t. The world is ugly and petty. That’s not God’s fault. The fault lies squarely on man’s and woman’s shoulders.

The kindest words we can utter, according to Jesus, are; “Please forgive me” and “Yes, I will forgive you.”

Have we uttered either of those phrases lately? If not, why not?

How we answer the second question will tell us a lot about ourselves. Are we courageous enough to listen?

Photo By: Margaret Richards |

Turn Write Series with Guest Morgan L. Busse

Morgan L. Busse is passionate about authentic Christianity and shares from her own life her fears and triumphs as a follower of Jesus Christ. The wife of a pastor and mother to four children, she has plenty of adventures to draw from. Along with blogging, Morgan also writes speculative fiction and released her debut book, Daughter of Light, with Marcher Lord Press. You can visit Morgan at


When I first started writing Christian speculative fiction, it was more a playground for my imagination than anything else. A way to play with some cool fantasy ideas. But as the years went by and I found my life traveling down dark roads and facing one crisis of faith after another, my fantasy novel Daughter of Light began to morph into an exploration of what it ultimately meant to trust God.

By writing speculative fiction, I bypass some of the things that “classify” Christianity, such as church attendance, Bible studies, and Sunday school. Now I’m not saying those are bad (not at all), but sometimes our Christianity is defined by where we go or what we do, instead of by who we are.

Who we are reveals itself when the hard times come. We change for good or bad through the trials we face. And through the process, the one another of forgiving is what I find personally the hardest to fulfill.

Forgive one another, just as Christ has forgiven you. Easy to read, hard to do. Why? Because some of the bad things that happen to us are the result of other people. Their actions and words leave a deep scar on our soul. Sometimes It’s unintentional, simply a part of their personality that cuts us. Yet other times it is intentional, leaving us feeling shot in the back. Either way, the only way to heal is by forgiveness.

I know many writers do not write themselves into their characters, but I do. I feel in order to fully and genuinely explore issues, I must place myself in my character’s life and share my own heart and experiences. When I write about Rowen’s feelings of isolation and anger, I know those feelings. And the scene where she is freed from her bitterness, I drew from my own experience of finally letting go and trusting God with my life.

Forgiveness is a choice, but also a process. It takes time. Pain hurts, even when you have been a Christian for a long time. One of my characters, Captain Lore, has followed the Word for years. But when he watches the man he loves like a father die at the hand of an assassin, he buries the hurt. He thinks he’s fine, until the day he meets the assassin again. Then all the bitterness comes out like puss in a wound. I won’t reveal more since this happens in the next book, but I can say it won’t be an easy journey for him

Truly forgiving someone who has hurt you in real life is a painful process. First, you have to choose to forgive. That in and of itself is a hard choice. Then you have to keep on forgiving-to release the hurt. This can be daily, hourly, even minute-by-minute procedure when you remember the pain. Fall on your knees and give the pain to God, and forgive. Trust God to make things right in the end. And that end might not come in this lifetime or world.

Ultimately what gives me strength to forgive is remembering how much God has forgiven, not just me, but everyone. If the Jesus I follow can forgive the Pharisees and the many other people who spit on him, hit him, and hung Him on a cross, then I can forgive too.

The saying, “Time heals all wound” is true. Eventually it becomes easier. You find a year later that you don’t think about it as much. The bitter feelings toward the person or situation start to ease. That’s not to say you don’t remember. There will always be a scar. But the wound itself has finally healed, with no lingering bitterness.

I love writing because it gives me the ability to explore real life in a different setting, allows me to see how forgiveness is crucial to my life, and the life of my characters. Thank you for going on the journey.