Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
Love me tender, love me true…raise you hand if you now have a 60 year old Elvis song stuck in your head. (If you're too young to know the song; google it!) That 1956 hit song created an image of a love dripping with sweetness and tenderness that melted hearts, made females swoon and prompted people to see love differently. The key word in that song was “tender” and after this song topped the charts the word then applied to more than just steak!
Pope Francis spoke to a crowd early in his Papacy and encouraged people to “love with aggressive tenderness”. He also spoke about the tenderness of St. Joseph and encouraged all Christians to imitate his loving tenderness. The dictionary defines tenderness as; gentleness or kindness; sensitivity to pain. It seems like a pretty great thing to be doesn’t it! In my mind there is something significantly different about treating someone nicely and treating someone tenderly. I’m telling ya, this word has caused me to do a lot of thinking the past few days. I always know when God puts something on my heart and he makes it clear when I should let some words about it spill out onto paper. I was washing dishes the other night thinking about all this tenderness stuff and I glanced over to the table and noticed a prayer book lying there. When I finished, I opened it up and read a page about a man named St. Poemen, he was an Abbot who lived in the 5th century. I sat down on the porch and read this short page and wondered, where is this going God? As I got to the last paragraph, the story was told about a young brother who asked Poemen what should be done with someone who nods off during prayer (I often do this so I was curious about the reply!) He answered, “When I see a brother overcome by sleep, I only wish I could pillow his head upon my knees, that he might rest the better.”
Nothing like an old song and a really old holy guy to slam you with a lesson! I couldn’t believe those words and there really isn’t any better word to describe Poemen’s response than tenderness. I sat there on the porch wondering if I had ever really shown true tenderness and I immediately saw my children as babies. I remembered lots of instances when I was tender to those three little people. I don’t recall ever entering the baby room at 3 am and screeching, “knock it off, just suck it up and go back to sleep I don’t care how wet your diaper is or how hungry you are!” I would have never done that, I just sleepily picked them up, comforted them and took care of them lovingly…tenderly because they needed me. Then I wondered why I didn’t look at others with the same tenderness. The BIG question became, how would the world be different if we were all more tender? What if our first thought was “what do you need to feel better” not “what is your problem?” God is so tender with us and I forget to tell him thank you for that. I suppose the best way of all to thank him is to love others with more tenderness.
As I was sitting at the island in the kitchen typing this blog wondering if it was the story to tell, Dave was in the living room watching the Olympics and a life insurance commercial came on and the background music for the commercial was, “Love Me Tender”. You just can’t make this stuff up so I hope God stirs up something big in your heart with the word tenderness.
A Seed To Plant: Write the word tenderness on a sticky note and give it some thought and prayer this week…see where the Lord leads you.
Blessings on your day!
Click on the items below to expand the options available to you to explore the Joyful Words blog.