Friday, March 9, 2012

Ephesians 4:30-32

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, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

When we speak words that hurt rather than building up, our behavior grieves the Holy Spirit. This doesn't mean that we should be completely Pollyanna or ignore negative situations. But when negative things need to be discussed or confronted we should do it without bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice. We should directly confront people in a loving manner rather than talking behind their backs and stirring up trouble. When we do confront sin we should avoid bitterness and bringing up past situations that do not relate to the current problem. Clamoring refers to a loud and confused noise or a vehement protest or demand. We often clamor and cry to have our own needs met without considering the needs of others.

After putting away these five vices we should put on three positive behaviors - being kind, tender-hearted, and forgive each other. As we have received grace beyond measure we are called to be kind to one another, speaking words of affirmation and lending a shoulder when the tears begin to flow. Because God has lavished His love on us we are called to be tenderhearted to others, seeing their pain and circumstances through His eyes rather than seeking our own gain. Because Christ gave His life to forgive us when we deserved it not we are called to forgive people who do not deserve it, whether or not they seek the forgiveness themselves. Although we do not have to fall for the same things over and over, we must forgive over and over. Through these behaviors the body of Christ will be built up and become one, and we will be conformed to His image.

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