Photo by Priscilla Du Preez
“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 one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31–32).
There is a right way and a wrong way to live. That is not popular to say but it is the undiluted truth. The right way is in accord with “the way [we] learned Christ” (Eph. 4:20). The wrong way to live involves “hardness of heart” (Eph. 4:18), callousness (Eph. 4:19), and corruption through deceitful desires (Eph. 4:22).
So, there are certain things we should not do. There is a wrong way to live and act. It is damaging and even devilish (James 3:15).
Therefore, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” We should not be resentful. Sinful anger should have no place in our lives. Foolish arguments should never be heard to come from our mouths. We should never speak wrong of others. How can we try to tarnish a person made in God’s image (James 3:9)?! Lastly, how can we have ill-will for someone when God the Son paid the ultimate price for us?! How can we not be transformed by our heavenly Father’s sacrificial love so that we extend grace and love even to our enemies?!
There are also certain things we should be all about. We are to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.” We should be genuinely friendly and consider others. More than just considering others, however, we are to be so affectionate towards them that our hearts break for them. Lastly, we see that we are to forgive. Forgiveness is probably the most difficult thing listed. Forgiveness often entails continued sacrifice and grace.
Why? Why do we seek to live a certain way? Someone might say, “Because it’s just the right thing to do.” And I agree that it is the right way. But the Bible says more than that.
The Bible says live the right way, love people, because of Jesus. Show tangible, visible, demonstrable love because that is what Jesus has shown us to do by Himself loving us.
So, why? Why love people even when it so often pains us? Because “God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32).
God forgave us. In Jesus, we are “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). And so we extend sacrificial love and grace.