Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:32

Heavenly Father, this is another one of those “post-on-the-front-of-the-refrigerator” verses. No matter the circumstances, story, or details, you call us to respond grace-fully in our relationships—when it’s easy and when it’s not. Not as doormats to be walked on—but foot-washers who get low and serve.

You’re not calling us to live in denial about reality and the challenges of loving well, but as children in whom you greatly delight—those upon whom you have set your unwavering favor and endless affection.

Father, forgive us for the moments—even hours, when our default mode is to repay indifference for indifference, stubbornness for stubbornness, coolness for coolness, wise crack for wise crack, or pettiness for pettiness. We want to love others as you love us in Jesus, period. Your grace, not cosmic karma, must fuel and lubricate our relationships.

We so look forward to the Day when we will be made perfect in love (1 John 3:1-1). But until that Day, grant us quicker repentances when we get annoyed and prickly; softer, kinder hearts when we feel prevailed upon or used; and gospel responses, instead of defensive reactions, when we experience the outworking of someone else’s difficult and frustrating day.

Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit, keep us so aware of our union with Christ and the riches of grace, that it will be difficult to stay aggravated or resentful, no matter the provocation or personality. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ kind and loving name.