Kind, Tenderhearted, Forgiving

Although I’m sure we all agree that religion is a very personal thing, I will share with you that I often read from the Bible when I go to bed at night. My days are long and stressful, and with many kids, a big career, and a lot of obligations and responsibilities, I ‘multi-task’ and juggle about a million balls from the time I wake up until I go to bed at the end of my (often 20 hour) day. And I need to kind of de-stress before I go to sleep. Reading religious articles that inspire me, or reading from the Bible really does it for me. It gives me back some perspective, and makes me feel that I am not carrying the whole world on my shoulders alone. And whatever one’s beliefs, there are some great reminders in the Bible, that apply to our dealings with other people, how we treat them, and expect to be treated in return. As I said, it works for me.

In that vein, I came across something wonderful from Ephesians, that really resonated for me: Ephesians 4:32:”… ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another….”. It really made me stop and think and is such a good message. Things like that immediately make me look back at my day and how I behaved. Was I crabby to people? Was I rude to anyone? Did I lack compassion?….’tenderhearted’ is so sweet, and the reminders to be kind and forgiving are good messages to keep or get us back on track (we all have crabby days, when things get out of control, including our reactions. I sure do). It struck me immediately as I read it that that would be a wonderful message in a wedding ceremony, to be tenderhearted, kind, and forgiving. What better way to behave in a relationship, or in life? I really loved the message. And having read it, I thought about it for a while, promised myself to try and keep those three things in mind, and then turned over and went to sleep. Forgiveness is so important in every relationship, familial, parent/child, husband/wife, partner, employer/employee, or even friends. We don’t go far in life if we are unable to forgive our fellow man, and sometimes there’s a lot to forgive. (I pray hardest for those I have trouble forgiving and who have really hurt me. The others are a lot easier to pray for, the ones who have been kind to me). But there are times when we will want them to forgive us too. And not forgiving is the biggest stumbling block in all relationships, and the surest way to destroy a relationship. Forgiveness, and the ability to do so is so important. The last thing any of us want is to be in a relationship with someone who cant forgive you for your failings or mistakes, and beats you over the head with past crimes every chance they get. Who needs that? I’ve been in those situations, and they’re miserable. Nothing ever heals that way, all the wounds are kept open by lack of forgiveness, and the constant reminders of the times we failed. And I’ve been asked many times what I would want in a man if I were in a relationship again. Kindness is always at the top of my list. People talk about wanting someone to ‘have fun with’, or ‘with a great sense of humor’. I can live without someone having a sense of humor (although I love a good laugh, but I can laugh with my friends, if my romantic interest doesn’t have a great sense of humor), but I can’t live without kindness anymore, and without mutual forgiveness you don’t go far. (I was recently really shocked when I congratulated someone I know who had just gotten married, and he said about his new wife, as her main virtue, “she’s a lot of fun”. Hmmm… that enough? Is that what REALLY matters? If I had just married someone, I would sure want them to be able to say a lot more about me than that I’m “a lot of fun”. I would want them to know that I am solid, reliable, caring, kind, intelligent, loving, a good person—not just “a lot of fun”. Somehow, to me, that doesn’t seem like enough, by a long shot. But then again, the person who said it is younger than I am, and I’ve been in enough tough situations in my life to know that you need more than a fun loving spirit to get through them).

In any case, those few words from Ephesians really lit up for me, and I wanted to share them with you. I wish you kind, tenderhearted, forgiving people in your life. It doesn’t get much better than that!!! And they seem like good goals for us all, to express those qualities too. It was a good reminder to me.

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18 Comments so far
  1. Matty Speights February 6, 2009 7:58 pm

    Ms. Steel,

    This is a very uplifting post. I’ve been a big fan of yours since 2004, but had no idea that you also maintained a blog. “Kind, Tenderhearted, Forgiving” is very relevant to my life right now. Thanks,


  2. Kathi February 7, 2009 7:23 am

    What a lovely blog.

  3. Karol Patras February 7, 2009 7:46 am

    Danielle, I dont know if you get these responses personally or not but I wrote you a while back telling you that I lost my son also. My son Kollen Patrick passed away after an automobile accident. This happened in 1999 just 3 weeks before his 18th birthday. I know that you too have lost your son, and I am so sorry for your loss.
    I have a very big collection of your books, I love your work and as of now I have 68 of your books and in the process of finding the ones I do not have.
    I am sending this to you because I have set up a memorial page for my son and I would appreciate it if you would visit the page. The web address is

    Once in the page, click on light a new candle.

    Thank you for your wonderful novels.

    Karol Patras

  4. kimmi February 7, 2009 10:42 am

    Well said, Ms. Steel. Two of the strongest foundations of any relationship; kindness and gratefulness go hand in hand. And, yes, what you say about forgiveness, agreed and furthermore just allows others to take up free rent in your brain.

  5. Peggy Blanton February 7, 2009 11:02 am

    I loved reading your blog just now. You have always been one of my favorite authors, and I feel I really know your heart after reading this.

    I have almost finished reading “A Good Woman” and it has blessed my heart to read one of your books that reminds me of the way you wrote at the beginning of your career. A beautiful story that has your touch without all the profanity that I don’t like.

    I believe you must have found your new editor.
    The last time I wrote to you, you replied to me that you were having trouble because I complained of your repeating yourself in some of your recent books.

    Congratulations on “A Good Woman” and I am anxiously awaiting Feb. 24th when another new book is released.

  6. tassy menudier February 7, 2009 12:08 pm

    Words to live by! Thank you for re-emphasizing what was said to the Ephesians, especially as we move towards St. Valentine’s Day and into Lent in preparation for Easter!

  7. Julie February 7, 2009 1:48 pm

    After a lifetime of being one of those ‘high-powered executives’ you are always writing about in your books, in Dec of 07 I developed an illness which relegated me to spending the past year in bed. If you want something to test the mettle of a spouse see if yours will wait on you hand and foot for a year without complaint, shoulder the financial worries and not make you feel a burden. Like you, I gave serious thought to my wedding vows this past week. “In sickness and in health” perhaps should be moved up in the order and I sure know why “fun” wasn’t in the traditional vows. It is certainly a blessing to have a husband with a great sense of humor but one with a forgiving heart on those days when you are “crabby” is a much better trait- one I thank God for every day.

  8. marienicole February 8, 2009 7:04 am

    bon dimanche cher grande dame,

    Merci d être là, d écrire et d écrire des choses tendres…

    Vous êtes une grande humaniste et connaissez le coeur humain mieux que ceux qui se targuent d avoir des doctorats en la matière!

    Viva internet qui nous permet de mieux connaître l auteure…d être au coeur de l auteure si je puis m exprimer ainsi…

  9. tracey February 8, 2009 9:02 am

    Excellent post. Excellent.

  10. Yolanda February 8, 2009 2:09 pm

    How inspirational. I am going through a tough time in my life right now, and just knowing God is there for me always, is what is seeing me through. I also think that what you said about forgiveness is true. I was just writing in my journal that maybe the situation at hand has nothing to do with me, it is about my spouse, and since we are married, then I hve the shared emotional attachment in it. So, maybe, by “marriage default” I have a lesson to be learned as well. Thank you for the reminder that forgiveness is the key in moving through the tough parts.

    Also, I appreciate your blog. I have followed your career for years (and am currently reading your book, Sisters, which another teacher left in our teacher lounge’s book exchange). I was wondering why Paris was a featured theme in your novels, and now after reading your personal bio written by you, so many things are much more clearer. Wht an inspiration you are. Keep up the good work, Danielle Steele!

  11. Gabriela February 8, 2009 4:26 pm

    Thank you for the reminder!!

    Also, thank you for sharing your personal experiences w/us. I know it is not always easy talking about your personal life w/a bunch of strangers. For this I respect you and always look forward to reading your thoughts, comments & experiences.

    Again, Thank you.

  12. Kay van den Berg February 9, 2009 6:55 am

    God bless you Danielle, for always being such an inspiration! Thank you too for all your wonderful books that always move me. My mother and I share your books and we have loved everyone that we have read. Thank you 🙂

  13. Kathryn Magendie February 11, 2009 12:23 pm

    Beautiful post. Personally, something has happened to my “religious life” to where I don’t know what I believe anymore – and WOE for certain members of my family, since I’m southern and we grew up southern baptist…laughing – however, there is no denying the beautiful gifts of words and faith and love and friendship that are contained in the Bible (see my upbringing, despite my heathenism-laugh- didn’t let me NOT capitalize the Bible!).

  14. Angie February 11, 2009 6:19 pm

    Love this, and here here: “I can’t live without kindness anymore, and without mutual forgiveness you don’t go far.”

    I’d love to send you a copy of my 2003 co-authored inspirational book if you’d have a desire for such a thing. (Seasonal personal essays, stewardship tips, good recipes and some bad poetry on my part.) 🙂

    PS – *Hitting self in head* I just realized you’re the author lady from reading comments below. Doh! LOL.

  15. Debra Shiveley Welch February 15, 2009 9:57 am

    This subject keeps coming up and I think I’m going to have to start listening.

    There is a person in my life who hurt me so profoundly, insulting me to the core of my being and completely devastating me in regard to our relationship, that I have been unable to forgive or forget.

    Someone is trying to tell me something as this subject keeps coming up a lot lately.

    A beautiful post, Danielle, simply beautiful. Now, I must go get my Bible.

  16. Sonia Fara Pita March 2, 2009 9:06 pm

    Ms. Danielle:
    Am very sorry to hear about your son, I recently
    went thru an experience with a biopolar case in my family. Is my cousin who always was a nice
    hard working young man and has gone thru a lot of problems never expected.
    I am glad I found your page, is a
    satisfaction to see that a famous person like you take the time to care for others. Also to
    look for spiritual strength thru the bible verses.
    Mont St. Michael is a very special place in Paris.
    God Bless
    Sonia Fara

  17. Lynda Geraci March 5, 2009 5:43 pm

    Ms. Steel,
    Althought each and everyone of us will not escape this planet without our share of hurts, shattered dreams,love lost, and broken hearts, I still believe in two words,and a day does not go by that I don’t use them in one form or another. “Be Kind” Two words that can make a big difference. P.S. 30 years ago I named my daughter after you. Thanks for the good memories.

  18. jennifer hurley April 1, 2009 8:52 am

    Dear Danielle…God is so faithful and good. He knows just what we need and has proved Himself to me time and time again. A few weeks ago, He brought to my memory a book I read several years ago. It was your book, His Bright Light” about Nick. Although I was not familiar with bipolar disorder…Nick’s story touched my heart. Never would I dream that I would have to face the same disease with a loved one some day. I recently located another copy of the book and could not even wait to get home to read it again (I actually started reading it on my way home…while driving!) Very foolish, I know. I read it straight through and cried and cried. I’ve been married to a man with bipolar for almost 3 years now…did not know he had this until a few months into the marriage. He actually “crashed” on our honeymoon, it was a complete nightmare..and there would be many more days like it. It is very difficult to find anyone who understands what I am going thru, he holds his own in public, than exhibits most of his behaviors in car/at home. I can relate SO much to your life with Nick, and how you love the person so much and want to help, and it becomes your “mission’ to save them. I feel so alone at times…if it weren’t for the Lord sustaining me, I don’t know what I would do. We are presently separated and trying to reconcile(he wants to, but refuses to get help) He is off and on his medication, up and down, and I am the one he vents on. The mood swings are horrible, and I feel like I will be abandoning him if I leave him, but he is still the same. I feel like I’m on a rollarcoaster, and have a 12 year daughter (not his) in the middle of all this. (we are separated because he choked me, and blames me because I called the police) The rages of anger and crazy behavior scares me. Danielle, we are Christians and my husband is a preacher’s son and people think he is so nice and charming. My Pastor wants us to reconcile, and I tried giving him several chances, and it is not working. I am in a turmoil, because I love my husband, and can’t imagine my life without him..but I cannot go thru this and put my daughter thru this life. Your book helped me and touched my heart again. I have a 21 year old son who is on his own. He was the joy of my heart when he was little! I could see that your Nick also brought you joy, esp. as a little boy. He was blessed to have had so much love and support from his family and his journals told of his great love for you. Thank you again for sharing his story. I started writing about my husband’s episodes a few years ago, just to get it off my shoulders. It truly is theraputic to write, it is a great release. Thank you, Danielle for reading my comment (story actually) I speak blessings over you and your family, and will always remember you and keep you in prayer. Sincerely, Jennifer Hurley