Paul “Never let evil talk pass your lips; say only the good things men need to hear, things that will really help them. Do nothing that will sadden the Holy Spirit with whom you were sealed against the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, all passion and anger, harsh words, slander, and malice of every kind. In place of these, be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you in Christ. ” ~Ephesians 4:29-32
It is lovely when we can follow Paul’s advice in Ephesians. As my junior high teacher would say to me, though, when I would make such a suggestion “Good idea, Kate; you go first“. Believe me, holding myself to this very high standard is plenty to keep me busy. As a matter of fact, if I have enough time to tsk tsk anyone but me on this front, I am not doing a good enough job myself. If we are to forgive each other as God has forgiven us in Christ–what does that mean?
Seriously, if I really think about the above Scripture quote do you know what it boils down to for me? “Do nothing that will sadden the Holy Spirit; and be mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you in Christ”. Boy that really covers it all. After all, Scripture doesn’t say to forgive except for the times when… It just says forgive. It says to be kind. Not “even to the opposition” but especially to the opposition.
My quandary at times has been where to put my (what seems to me to be) justifiable anger? Just like one man’s trash is another man’s treasure;it could also be that ‘one man’s justifiable anger is another man’s irrationality’. God gave us so many of each other so we could learn to love, serve, and forgive. I thank God there are many who guide the way as I stumble along.