Ephesians 4:31-32 “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as Go for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
It is not always easy to forgive someone. That’s a pretty “duh” statement, if I do say so myself, but as I think about it, I realize it is much more than being “hard to forgive.”
Jesus forgave us before we were even born. We put Him on the cross, and it was our sin that kept Him there, and our sin that He paid for by dying. Yet, He forgave us. When your neighbor accidentally lets dandelions get out of hand and they spread to your lawn, how about forgiving him. When that guy cuts you off in traffic, why not just let it go. And when your boss yells at you for no apparent reason? Well, let’s say that might not be that big a deal. In the grand scheme of things, what is all of that compared to what Jesus Christ forgave us for? How many times have you actually told Jesus you were sorry for taking His name in vain, or saying something untoward to the cars in your way? How many times do we daily fail Jesus, and forget that it was that sin right there that put Him on the cross.
Don’t be bitter. If someone did something to bother you, let them know about it. They may not know they offended you. In fact, the first thing you should probably do is take a long hard look at the situation and figure out if you should even be offended. It’s probably not that big a deal. But, if you come away from it feeling as if you have a right to be offended, or upset, go to that person, and let them know. Letting those feelings sit inside of you only allows the sore to fester and eventually you will become bitter. In fact, you may blow that situation into something that keeps you from enjoying yourself while that person is around, all the while they have no idea why you have begun to act strangely around them. Bitterness destroys your own attitude, as well as your fellowship with others. Put away the bitterness.
Get rid of your anger and wrath. You mad bro? Let it go. Paul says to be angry and sin not in another passage, but here he says to just put away the anger. There he is speaking of righteous anger, and doing something constructive, not destructive. Here, he is talking about interpersonal relationships. Anger hurts everyone in the situation, but it hurts worst the person that is angry. I’ve dealt with this. Often, there is a way to alleviate the anger; remove yourself from the situation. If that doesn’t work, then it might be something you’ll have to give up to God, and request His assistance giving up. After all, He is the one telling you to put it away. He can show you how to get rid of that anger.
Be kind. Paul is talking about Christian relationships here, but I think we can be kind to everyone. Jesus said that you would know His disciples by their fruit; kindness is a fruit. The old saying is right: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Your heart should be tender to those in your community, whether or not they be of the household of faith., Who knows if one day they might come to church with you just so they can see more people who are as kind as you are? That is truly what people are looking for in this day. They want to know people care about them. Especially young people.
There is a generation of kids growing up out there without parents that care. I see it all the time. They want something to latch on to, and they want to know that someone cares what they’re doing. Jesus cares, and because of that, we ought to care. Be kind, and tenderhearted to those that otherwise might never hear a kind word or have anyone to show them kindness.
And just be a kind person. That’s really all Jesus is asking of us. Is that so hard?