“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32 ESV
As a Christian, we should live in love. In order to do this, Paul has asked us to take off the old nature and put on the new nature. He gives us a list of what we should stop doing and tells us what we should do instead. What Paul has written is fairly simple to understand but not so easy to do. We are able to achieve a new way of life through the redemptive power of God.
First, no longer hold bitterness. A person may have wronged you and perhaps you refuse to become friends again. Or, you may have done wrong things to someone. They forgive you but you do not accept their forgiveness. You continue to think angry, evil things about them. If so, then you are bitter.
Reject rage and anger. Rage is a sudden burst of anger like a storm. Anger itself is a wrong feeling against an enemy. It is a deep, slow feeling. It grows inside you. It shows in your countenance.
We should not shout and fight. An angry person shouts. He or she thinks everything that is said must be right. Someone has done something wrong: he or she wants everyone to know about it. Arguing and shouting is wrong. It is wrong to make unkind or untrue statements about other people.
Lastly, we must not think or act because of spite. This could mean to plan evil things against another person. It could even mean thinking and becoming consumed by evil thoughts toward an individual, whether one carries out the plan or not.
So what should we do? Paul says we need to think in a way that pleases God. This will help us stop evil words and actions. Be kind and friends to one another. Forgive each other, just as God forgave you. God shows His kindness even to those who do not honor Him. God shows His kindness to us. Kindness is love in action. It is to think about someone else more than yourself.
Paul goes on to say forgive each other. The apostle knows, however, what prevents us from being kind and thinking good things about each other. If someone has wronged you, do not hold on to that evil, but rather, forgive. God in Christ has shown His grace toward us and we are to follow His example and do the same. Jesus is our example of forgiveness and a godly life.
Please forgive my foolish ways. How can I possibly withhold forgiveness from another person who may have wronged me once when you have forgiven me all my sin. Help me Lord to walk in the Spirit of love. I can only do that in Your power. In Jesus name, Amen