Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Written by: Larry Van Laar
One of the great things about the whole of God’s creation is His people. We are all created with exceptional uniqueness all the way down to our personal DNA. Then, throw in how we were raised and how we were loved—or not loved. Add in how we were treated and cared for when we were young and as adults. This is the age-old tension of “nature versus nurture.” What this trite cliché fails to factor in is the virtue of the Holy Spirit living in the life of the believer.
The verse in Ephesians above is a command from the Creator, not a suggestion. But let’s be honest, this is not something that followers of Jesus are knocking down doors and other barriers to achieve. All of us have personal reasons why “we are the exception”—why we deserve a pass or at least larger room for continued error in these areas.
That’s why Christ is full of relentless grace. Nonetheless, this is what we are called to in our relationships with loved ones, friends, and enemies. As believers, we have the virtue of the Holy Spirit living in us to change us, grow us, and direct us. Why then do we still act with bitterness, anger, and rage? Because we all need to grow up.
Like all growth, growing in the Lord can sometimes be a painful process. But being kind, compassionate, and forgiving should be at the top of all of our lists of virtues to attain. If I may be bold to say, we will never grow to spiritual maturity while we harbor bitterness, anger, rage, and malice. We must grow up.
Thought of the day: Make a list of who you hold in contempt. Who are you bitter with? Who have you slandered? Who are you always angry with? Ask the Lord to help you with forgiveness. The first step is saying out loud to Jesus, “I choose to forgive ______________. Lord help me to forgive. Show me how to love like You do.”
Prayer: Lord, thank You for forgiving me, washing me clean, and making me whole. I want to love like You. I want to show compassion and mercy to all. Help me to be more like You today. Help me grow up.