The Apostle Paul had a way of saying what needed to be said. He did it clearly, but kindly. He did it often without seeming repetitious and he did it in a way that was loving
After spending 3 years in Ephesus, Paul wrote a letter to the church in that city describing what it was like to live life as a new spiritual person. He said that it called for a way of thinking and acting, and he explained that this would help them grow up to be more like God – more righteous and holy
In Ephesians 4: 29-32, Paul wrote
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
We might ask, what are the things that grieve Holy Spirit? What things do we need to stop doing and which ought we to start?
The apostle Paul added: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you”.
In other words, you have received grace from God, therefore God wants you to extend grace to others. He does not want anyone to give up or to abandon their faith, because they think that their efforts are hopeless
The scriptures reveal that it’s Satan who accuses us day and night before our heavenly father. He would have us believe that we are not really forgiven in any full and final way. That what seems too good to be true – is actually not true. Bitterness, anger, clamour and strife among brethren suggest that Satan is right.
Yet the truth is, that God has forgiven us and we belong to Him. God – the Holy Spirit, has actually moved in and now lives within us right alongside of our spirits. We must therefore not make room within us – for bitterness or malice to take root. Because of the cross of Jesus, God has set aside his righteous anger toward us. It is only right, that we do the same for others. God does not keep a record of the wrongs which he has forgiven. He has made it so that we start each day with something better than a clean slate – we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus.
How many of us who have been happily married for years, have suceeded by reminding our spouse of their faults and failings? Do such reminders aspire us to do better or discourage and defeat us? God expects the best of us, urging us to forget what lies in the past and to press on to the upward call that we have in Christ Jesus.
May we today, pledge together…to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, and forgiving each other as Christ has forgiven us. Forgiveness is a gift from God which is made that much more certain – when we extend it to others – for God will forgive us as we forgive others.
What a blessing, to be forgiven. What an honour to share God’s grace by forgiving others. What an opportunity to brighten our days, to strengthen our fellowship and make our hearts strong in this experience of the love of our Lord.