Forgiven. Forgiving – Week of September 18, 2023

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 4:32-5:2

What you do each day serving young children is one of the most important roles anyone can have. One of the many joys and blessings is watching a young child’s faith grow. But there are also plenty of hard things. Sin doesn’t pass by the early childhood classroom. It’s there and Satan works to interrupt and disrupt our efforts. One of Satan’s most effective tools is getting in the middle of our relationships.

We are imperfect humans serving imperfect children and with other imperfect adults. Like the children, the adults have wonderful gifts, and they also have areas of weakness. Like you and me, they have their own struggles with sin. Some may be tempted to talk about their concerns for a person rather than talking to that person. As you know, this is gossip, which hurts everyone including the gossiper. Working with young children can be stressful. Sometimes that stress shows itself in impatience with the children or with each other. Satan knows that a relationship that is fractured distracts us from our ministry. He’s good at it and is relentless in his efforts.

Our verses today start with the words—be kind and compassionate. It’s not hard to be kind to someone who is kind. However, the verse doesn’t say to be kind only to those who are kind. It says—to one another. It says forgiving each other. There’s no qualifier. The verses include the following encouragements: just as Christ forgave you. Follow God’s example. …just as Christ loved us.

Struggles, stress, and strife with our colleagues is going to be part of all we do. God’s words encourage us to look at his example. God’s forgiveness for you and for me is undeserved by us and generous from him. We don’t deserve it but God, out of incredible love for us, forgives us over and over. And then he asks us to do the same for each other. Last week we talked about each child in your room as a brother or sister in Christ for whom Jesus died and rose. The same is true of the adults around you. As you serve together, intentionally look for the gifts God has given your colleagues and thank God for them. He has given us each other to support and encourage one another. Satan wants to mess it up. Recognize his attempts and pray to God to guide you and give you grace and strength to overcome Satan’s attempts.

You’re dearly loved by God who is compassionate and forgiving. Keep striving to teach the children in your class to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving. And as you consider the adults around you, look for opportunities to be supportive, understanding, compassionate and when needed, forgiving—just as in Christ God forgave you.

Dear Father, sometimes it’s easy to be kind. Please help me especially when it’s not easy. Help me to see all those around me as someone dearly loved by you. And then help me recognize when someone needs kindness and compassion. Help me to forgive just like you do for me each day. It’s in Jesus’ name I ask this. Amen

A Hymn to Consider:
For further reflection on the thoughts of today’s devotion:
Christian Worship 21 731 Oh, How Good It Is

Early Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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