Monday, February 26, 2018
Read Ephesians 4:25-32 (paraphrase)
24 So live into your true self, the one created in the image of God—totally accepted and set apart by God.
25 Stop living falsely and hiding. Let us be truthful with one another, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t turn against God and others by letting anger control you.” Don’t leave your your anger unattended, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the enemy.
28 Don’t deceptively take from others. Instead, work diligently, be honest, and give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use harsh or wounding language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that the heart of your words will be beneficial to those who hear them.
30And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has made you his own and guaranteed your ultimate freedom.
31 Set aside all your bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all hurtful behavior. 32 Instead, move toward one another in kindness and tenderheartedness, and forgive one another, as God through Christ has forgiven you.
One thing we all have in common is that we have been hurt by other people. People, have said or done things that hurt us. And it’s very probable that we too, as broken people, have hurt others. In this broken world, the question is not “will I be hurt” but “how will I respond when hurt by others?”
This passage sites several reactions that often accompany the hurt we encounter: anger (v.26), bitterness, slander and hurt you back behavior (v.31). These parts of us, old parts if you will, that pop up to defend our hearts. They mean well, but ultimately they are not giving us the help we need. That’s why Paul says set them aside.
The true self, the new real you is united with Christ by the mystery of faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. The true you is safe and in Christ. As children of God, we are protected, defended and loved by the King. As such we need not react to the hurt, but in our true self we move toward one another in kindness and love.
This is not always an easy reality to grasp. But Christ in you, the true you, has the power and the Spirit of love. This is a pro-active strength that moves toward others with a tender heart and forgiveness. It’s Monday – new challenges await us and hurts may come, but in Christ let’s move toward one another in love.
Father, you know the pain of hurt more than I. You know the cost of forgiveness and you know the power of love. Fill me afresh with that power that I may move toward others with kindness and tenderheartedness today. Amen.