Ephesians 4:29-32 (ESV) Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ.
It is so very easy, when we feel wronged, slighted or burdened, to lose control of our temper, slip into the flesh, our carnal nature, lash out and rage at someone. It seems especially easy to lose it on those closest to us, our spouse, children, siblings or co-workers. We can and do say some of the most vicious, hateful, un-Christlike, wicked things to each other.
I’d like to say that I’m an exception to that, but regrettably I cannot. I have said and done horrible things to people closest to me. Likewise, I have been on the receiving end of some cruel assaults. It’s devastating, heartbreaking and irrevocably damages relationships. Though they can and often do heal, they will never quite be the same.
Even worse than the damage done to the recipient of the assault, or the relationship between the parties, is the damage it does to one’s witness, the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ Himself. When we choose to follow Jesus Christ, we choose a new life, we are to die to self, crucified with Jesus Christ, born again a new creation. We accept the mantle of responsibility of representing Jesus Christ to our born again brothers and sisters and to the unbelieving world. When we allow our carnal nature to take control, our emotions to erupt and explode all over a situation, what impact does that have on how the world around us sees Jesus?
One of the greatest obstacles to the advancement of God’s Kingdom, the leading of souls to the Lord, is hypocrisy. We’ve all heard someone say, “I can’t stand those churchy people. They talk all high and mighty, think they’re so much better than we are, then go and do…say…” Perhaps you have even said something to that effect. I used that as a reason to stay away from church and a pursuit of Jesus for many years. “Aw those self righteous, church going hypocrits! Mr. So and So professes to follow Jesus, goes to church, studies scripture, blah blah blah. I’ve seen him say… Just the other day, I caught him…” You get my point.
When we lose control of our emotions, when we let someone have it, rage, curse, name call, belittle the damage goes far beyond the person or people our tirade is directed at. It damages our witness, those who witness the act, the Holy Spirit that resides within us and Jesus Christ. God demands us to love one another tenderly, perfectly as we would ourselves. That’s a tall order, but an order we must determine to fulfill. So, next time something isn’t going your way, someone isn’t doing what you think they ought to, treating you as you think they should, will you give over to your emotions, your carnal nature? Or, will you pause, think about how you can best represent your Lord and Savior and act accordingly? Have a blessed weekend.
Proverbs 29:11 (ESV) A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,