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(Read Ephesians 4:25-32)
“Therefore”. This is how today’s reading starts. “Therefore”, meaning there’s an aforementioned thought baton being passed to us that we’re carrying through to the finish line. Let’s go!
So, the first thing Paul jumps to regarding the Ephesians’ “new self” being created after the likeness of God’s righteousness and holiness is....that’s right. Truth. It seems so simple but, as we all know, the truth isn’t always easy, nor is it appealing to our neighbors at times. Why was this so important to make it to the very top of the list? My guess is that it’s never “just one lie”. The first lie is like the rogue thread in a sweater that continues unraveling each time it gets tugged on something until, eventually, there’s no sweater left. Next thing you know, you’re hiding, trying to cover yourself. That’s usually the very moment when God asks, “Where are you?”.
The next thing he touches on is something I struggle the most with, anger. He offers two views on this topic but they’re very much interconnected. First, he references Psalm 4:4.
“Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah” (ESV)
However, notice the second half reads differently than Paul’s writing (Ephesians 4:26)?
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,” (ESV)
Paul must have had an experience that led him to end his statement this way. The psalmist says ponder it in private and remain silent, which is appropriate and effective in most cases. However, I believe Paul knew that dealing with anger privately in severe circumstances could potentially lead us toward sin rather than away from it, so he challenged us by asking that we let it go before ending our day, no matter the severity. We are to practice daily forgiveness. Any alternative gives Satan an “in”.
Next, he calls thieves to not only start working for a living but to share their earnings, as well.
Then, no more gossiping, cursing and/or tearing each other down. Rather, encourage one another in love according to the needs of the individual AND the condition of the situation their in. As others see this kind of love and grace displayed, it will bless them too.
Verse 4:30 has many interpretations. My best suggestion is to pray over it. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in understanding its meaning.
Paul closes by giving a recap of the specific sins he’s addressing and the counter behavior to those sins, finalizing it with a reminder to forgive as Christ forgave us.
Are you experiencing any toxicity in your relationship with others? Is it having an effect on your relationship with Jesus Christ? Maybe it’s time you address the elephant in the room, unforgiveness. Give everything over to Him. He’ll tell what to do with it.
Thank you for all our wonderful church friends and family. Help us to be loving and forgiving of each other, so much as to bless others who may witness our love. Your Word says it is how they will know us. Let it be so, Father.
Written by Brian Price
References are from:
The Holy Bible (AMP, ESV, KJV, NASB, NIV)