Ephesians 4:29-5:2 (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. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 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. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
This is a letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christian church around Ephesus, while he was in a Roman prison. Paul instructed this church to be unified and purposed in building one another up, encouraging each other in love, and speaking with humility when correcting one another’s actions. Paul recognized that how we treat people in our lives will impact them. The way we negatively talk to others can be one of the most destructive things in their lives. However, positive words can be uplifting and healing in situations that need attention. We would not be loving someone if we allow them to continue to make unwise decisions and not say anything.
Paul wanted Christians to constantly evaluate how they are interacting with each other, and to “put away” bitterness and slander. We can’t take back the words we use to damage someone’s reputation, so don’t speak that way. Paul also wanted the church to realize that holding on to strife affects the one who is angry much more than it affects the one whom the anger is directed at.
We should all be purposed in resolving issues where we know someone is upset with us or has wronged us (Matthew 18:15). This may not always be easy, but once we start the process then our relationships can begin to heal. Just as Jesus’s love showed us forgiveness, we should imitate that same behavior. Then allow Christ to begin to mend our hearts. Love can mean different things for different people, but we always want to look out for one another’s best interest. Loving someone is showing that we care for them and want them to succeed.
- How much do you pray for other people who you may not always agree with? Do you find it difficult to do so?
- Have you allowed others to speak into your life, even if it was difficult to hear?
- Is there anyone in your life who you need to forgive, or have a conversation with that can lead to reconciliation?
- How do you speak to people? Are you careful not to tear others down with your words? Do you show grace when people have talked negatively about you?
- Father, thank You for loving me and showing me Your grace and forgiveness day after day. Help me listen to the people in my life who are trying to encourage me to seek You more and more. Help me forgive the people who have wronged me, even when it is hard. Show me when I need to be uplifting to others and treat them in a loving way. I love You, Father. In Jesus’s holy name, amen.
- Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV)