FORGIVING OTHERS AND SELF
Read: Ephesians 4:29-5:4
“29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. 5 1 Follow God’s example,therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” (NIV Ephesians 4:29-5:4)
Study: This passage lists key qualities that destroy relationships, and others that heal them. Treating one another in un-Christlike ways (“bitterness, losing your temper, anger, shouting, and slander, along with every other evil”) greatly damages relationships. On the other hand, letting Christ change your life from the inside out opens you to bearing fruits like compassion, kindness and a forgiving heart. God works through these qualities to strengthen (and heal when needed) our relationships. Today’s reading is not just about how we behave outwardly. It didn’t say, “Behave nicely toward others—no matter how much you despise them inside.” God offered to transform us inwardly, in ways our outward behavior will then reflect. How can you open yourself to allow the Holy Spirit to shape you into a person who can more fully live out the call to be “kind, compassionate, and forgiving”?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me not to hide from or rationalize anger or bitterness you make me aware of inside myself. Do your transforming work in me. Amen.