Ephesians 4:32. “And be ye kind one to another; tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”
Anyone who grew up in Sunday School and church, as I did, memorized this verse as a child. I wonder, though, how many of us truly understood and practiced it. I was in my early ’30’s before I finally comprehended fully the importance of this verse. Once you get it, it will change your life. All the other ugly things we’ve discussed in this passage are mitigated by the act of forgiveness. Bitterness, clamour, evil-speaking, and malice are worn away by the wonderful erosion of choosing to forgive.
Forgiveness is not an event. Only God can forgive and forget. We have a lot of trouble with forgetting, and whenever the memory pops up, we need to choose to forgive yet again.
I have written several posts about forgiveness on my Friday Counseling Issues thread. Here is where to go for the first one. You can find them all if you follow the links near the bottom of the post under “related” items.
So here are the 20 commands Paul has listed for us in this chapter, starting in verse 17:
- Put away lying
- Speak truth
- Be angry without sinning
- Do not hold your anger from one day to the next
- Do not give way to Satan
- Stop stealing
- Give to the needy
- Let no corrupt words come out of your mouth
- Speak only that which is good
- Do not grieve the Holy Spirit
- Lay aside bitterness
- Lay aside wrath
- Lay aside anger
- Lay aside clamour
- Lay aside evil-speaking
- Lay aside malice
- Be kind
- Be tenderhearted
This is God’s will.