A loving heart is tenderhearted. Who is so Spirit-filled and not tenderhearted? Who walks with God and not tenderhearted? Anyone whose life is deeply rooted in God has a loving heart. And the heart that loves is always tenderhearted.
A tender heart is marked by compassion and sympathy. It is not being weak and gullible. It is being understanding of others and feeling deeply what they feel and go through. A tender heart is not insensitive or calloused of the sufferings of others. Instead, it seeks to show grace and kindness. A tender heart is one which is so immersed in the love of God that the heart softens to become a vessel for loving others too. For love is what God requires from all of us. Just as God is loving towards us in every way so we are commanded to love God and love others.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also love one another.”– John 13:34 (WEB)
A tender heart is open to forgiveness. When our heart is tender towards others, we could empathize with them more easily and we could understand them more. We also become more forgiving of others.
One of the great attributes of David besides all the other good and not so good qualities or behavior he displayed was his being tenderhearted. David was so tenderhearted that he refused to kill King Saul even when opportunies presented. He showed constant loving kindness and respect towards the house of Saul even when king Saul died. He showed extraordinary grace towards king Saul and his son, Ishbosheth even when king Saul time and time again tried to kill him. He did not give in to the temptation and opportunity to kill king Saul and get the kingdom for himself. But when king Saul died, David was sorrowful and he mourned for king Saul. He also killed the Amalekite who killed king Saul (2 Samuel 1). In the same manner, David did not gloat over the misfortune of the house of king Saul. Such tenderheartedness that he overlooked the offenses of king Saul easily. He could forgive as evident in how sincerely he mourned for the death of king Saul and even of his son, Ishbosheth, and how he honored Abner who was against him (2 Samuel 4:5-12).
We must also be tenderhearted and forgiving. We must learn to overlook an offense and strive to be compassionate of other people. If we are in Christ, His love compels us to show grace and not hate, to sow peace and not discord, and to give forgiveness and not bitterness.
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outcry, and slander be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.”– Ephesians 4:31-32 (WEB)