Have you noticed how awful our cultural behavior has become? Have you seen people become angry at the drop of a hat? Do you hear them slandering one another? Have you become just like all those people you abhor?
It is easy to sit back and pick apart the behavior of someone else. We are very good at seeing every fault. We say, ‘they should do this’ or ‘they should do that’. Our view of the world is tainted by our own faults and failures.
The Apostle Paul tells us to get rid of that type of behavior. He lists bitterness first. We must start on the inside. Resentment of others, what they have, who they have, what they do needs to be removed from our hearts. From there, he says to remove anger, which causes us to rage. Yes, anger needs to be thrown out. We can argue all we want about Jesus having righteous anger, but I dare say few of us ever have righteous anger. Our anger comes from feeling jilted, wronged, or from jealousy. Toss it out of your heart. Once we have fixed our heart, the rest of it comes naturally.
How do we fix it? Paul says to replace the bad with the good. We are to be kind. We have heard the saying, ‘kill them with kindness’. There is wisdom in that saying. Kindness doesn’t come naturally at first. We must work at it. We must be intentional. We may need to force ourselves to be kind when we first start out. He goes on to say we are to be compassionate. Care for one another. This isn’t a ‘one and done’ caring. It is continual. It is a way of life. Paul continues by reminding us to forgive one another. We all slip up. We all need forgiveness. We are all to forgive. How? In the same way Jesus has forgiven us.
How can we make this change? Simply put, we can’t. We must ask God to fill us with His Spirit and make the change for us. Being kind, compassionate, and forgiving are not always a sign that a person is filled with the Holy Spirit. But the opposite is true. Being filled with bitterness, rage, anger, and bad behavior is a sign we are not filled with the Holy Spirit, because He does not cause that type of behavior.
I pray we all ask God to fill us with His Spirit. I pray we relinquish our old ways for God’s ways. I pray each one of us ask God to make the change in our hearts and minds. Ask God to change you. Ask God to fill you with His Spirit. Be kind. Be compassionate. Be forgiving. Speak well of one another. Be like Jesus.
Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.