Ouch. The Toes!
“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 each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”—Ephesians 4:31-32 NASB
In our culture today, as well as some of us within the Body of Christ, these two verses can smash some toes. I know that for me, I have struggled with being hateful towards people who come across as arrogant, better-than or snobbish. When I was younger, I straight up clamored against and was deliberately irreverent towards those who tried to impose their will on my life. Where I grew up, we called that having a little buck in us.
We all struggle with these things on some level. Whether it is the resentment toward a person who gets to work a part-time job while we have to hold down three jobs and are killing ourselves to get by; or being envious that someone has a gift or talent that we don’t and talking smack about them to feel better about ourselves; or becoming bitter because we are not the center of attention or had an idea first so we then speak ill about someone behind their backs so as to detract from the good of what they are doing in their life.
Or, how about the way we post on social media, or chain messages?…clamor is actually defined as a crying, an outcry, a notifying tumult… as believers, let us not be deceived into thinking that we are pleasing God when we air all of our grievances with a person on social media for everyone to read. That is not the Biblical model for handling a problem with a fellow believer. Further, while some of us ask for prayer because we believe in prayer, some of us like to use prayer requests as a way to spill on other peoples issues as if this makes what we are doing okay!
God knows your heart. If you are finding ways to spread your malice and bitterness, by slandering and gossiping about others through “just saying” and prayer requests, you are not resting in the Word of God because He clearly tells us NOT to do these things. In fact, He tells us to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving toward each other, just as God has forgiven us. Have we forgotten that we are to forgive as God has forgiven us? If we hold onto unforgiveness, we will also be unforgiven by God. That is pretty clear in Matthew 6:14-15.
Further, let us not deceive ourselves. If you say you have forgiven but are still bringing it up, that shows you have not let it go. You have not forgiven. That unforgiveness can then lead to bitterness, envy and more slander as you attack everything that person you forgave sets out to do. If we are doing this and call ourselves believers, we need to repent.
So, what can you do to be in line with the Word? First, be kind to people, be gentle and affectionate in the way you treat others. Don’t badmouth people! Don’t hate on people because you simply don’t agree with them. Also, consider the company you keep. If you are dealing with a non-believer, love them through it and try to guide the conversation to positive places and a more positive perspective. If it is you or a professed believer, repentance is necessary.
We can achieve putting away slander, bitterness and wrath, and not being contributors to malice, envy and the airing of other people’s stuff by choosing to let go of pettiness, letting go of being in control of other people’s lives and surrendering the need to manipulate so that others are viewed in a negative, while we are seen in a positive. We can choose to look for the good in the situation and in others, while lovingly going to those who wrong us using the Biblical Model in Matthew 18:15-17.
I know. These can be tough Scriptures to look at and look at ourselves through. Where can you improve? How might you be guilty of not abiding in God’s instruction?
Until Next Time