"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you."
The world we live in today is divided. Everywhere we look, people are fighting, they are angry, and they are offended. It doesn’t seem like we can agree on anything, nor can we have conversations without insulting each other and hurting one another. I even see many people using the Bible and their faith in Jesus to defend hurting other people and putting them down. So what does the Bible actually say about how we should interact with those who we don’t agree with, and may even be hostile towards us? Ephesians 4:31&32 gives us a good idea when it says:
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
This verse is very challenging. All of these feelings of bitterness, rage, and anger are very familiar to me when I am offended and defensive. This verse also put harsh words on the same level as slander and evil behavior. Rather, we are challenged to respond with kindness, having a tender heart, and forgiving one another. Why? Because God has forgiven us through Christ. This isn’t the only verse that challenges us to live differently. John 13:35 tells us that we will be known by our love. How will we be known by our love, if we only speak out of hate? 1 Peter 3:9 says:
“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.”
How unnatural is it for us to repay the evil done to us, with blessing?? Romans 12:17-21 is just as challenging, asking us to live at peace with everyone. It also tells us that repaying evil is God’s job, not ours. This is definitely not easy, not natural, and not part of our current culture. Responding this way requires the Holy Spirit, and a lot of practice. So be kind to one another. Don’t react with hate and hostility, and show the world who Jesus is with love.
My Prayer For You
Father I ask that you would forgive us for when we have reacted in anger and hostility. Give us your Holy Spirit to help us react in love, peace, and kindness. Give us grace for when we fail and grace for when we succeed. Amen.
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