“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4.31-32
Paul’s words to the Ephesian church are just as well suited for us today. There are six things we are NOT to do and three things we ARE to do. Here are the five don’ts: (1) bitterness, (2) wrath, (3) anger, (4) clamour (a loud persistent outcry), (5) evil speaking, and (6) malice. Why is Paul addressing these issues with this church? We read these words in v. 14: “That we henceforth be no more children …” and then in v. 15: “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things …”
When I am filled with bitterness, I am unable to “speak the truth in love.” When my goal for the day is to “make somebody pay, I am unable to “speak the truth in love.” When my inner being is always angry with someone about something, I am unable to “speak the truth in love.” When my goal, whether spoken or not spoken, is to create havoc for someone (clamour), I am unable to “speak the truth in love.” When I allow my tongue to speak nothing but evil of others, I am unable to “speak the truth in love.” And when malice fills my heart, I am unable to “speak the truth in love.” These things must all be “put away” from us.
If I am NOT to do these things, what, then, am I to do? Here it is: (1) be ye kind one to another; (2) be tenderhearted toward one another, and (3) forgive one another. I can hear some now saying, “You’ve got to be kidding! Do you know what that person did to me? Do you know what that person said about me?” It really doesn’t matter.
The reason we are to do these things is given in the last phrase: “even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” That is our criteria for doing the right thing. Just my thoughts …