31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
I feel like today’s verses are pretty straight forward yet we live lives mainly opposed to this. This is how Christ lived, aside from the corrections that would happen periodically with the overly religious yet Godless people. We are called to be beautiful images of unity in the world. Living as beacons of love and compassion. We come to a broken and dying world and extend our hands realizing that they are slaves to unrighteousness. People are being held in darkness by their sin and the enemy. Like soldiers pressing through a dictator controlled country that has left its people broken and begging, we don’t judge their reactions we just keep helping.
See, many of us go about getting angry or bitter over pretty much anything that offends us. We have, again, placed ourselves on the throne and assume that how people treat us is most important. Yet we never read in Scripture that we are to treat people how they treat us… but instead to treat others how we would like to be treated. Even here we don’t see that we are to base our treatment on their character or behavior. Many times we are allowed to experience someone being rude, or a multitude of other issues just so we can see how arrogant our nature really is. We respond harshly because we think we are the centerpiece to existence. God says that the most important thing is the Gospel and yielding ourselves to God… not being respected or loved on by people. We are supposed to be able to respond lovingly out of a place of hurt, disrespect, etc. We are NOT supposed to respond in bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, etc. When someone hurts us, we respond like verse 32 says:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
When we realize how disgusting we were when God forgave us, when we realize how vile we were when He loved on us and died for us… that’s when we realize that other people’s shortcoming should not prompt a harsh response. Yet this attitude is only able to be grasped if we are praying for God to produce it in us. For us to act like Christ He’s gotta give us the power!
Let’s pray for a change, a heart that doesn’t respond to someone else’s brokenness with our own brokenness. Perhaps we can break the loop of disrespect and hatefulness.
Spend 1-2 minutes thanking God that He looked past our brokenness and didn’t respond to us in the same way that we treated Him. Then spend 2-3 minutes asking God to help you respond properly to others. Pray for the ability to break the circle and respond from a place of healing.
Do what I just said! lol This is more of a prepared response waiting for the opportunity, and praying for preparation. Don’t go out and punch someone to get them to treat you poorly so that you can respond properly…. that isn’t a good idea. Try to not respond in bitterness or anger when someone seems to hurt you. Understand that every human is broken in ways we weren’t created to be broken in. Some have anxiety and withdraw for times (don’t act on feeling rejected). Other’s are overly bold and say things that come across as rude (don’t act on feeling attacked). We were made to dwell with the Lord and not experience sin. When sin entered it ruined a bunch of things… like your friends, neighbors, and family. So expect them to look broken… Yet God is healing 🙂 He is doing things only He can do, and He is asking you to join Him in that! When you feel the things of verse 31 coming out, pray for God to produce verse 32. 🙂
P.s. we make social images (the picture at the top) for every devotion so that you can share these on facebook and people will read them. The images themselves can be shared or if you take the link of the devotion and share it the image will pop up. This is a great way to share a basic statement of truth. Take advantage of it 🙂