Highlights In Today's Reading:
Bond in unity as one (4:4-7) to become like Christ (4:15-16), a spiritual renewal (4:23). As children of God, live in the light (5:1-30). Protected by Jesus, the whole Armour of God (6:10-18).
Bitterness toward others often results from an unforgiving spirit. Perhaps our feelings of bitterness were the reaction to someone offending us "so deeply" that we felt we could not forgive them. But to hold any ill will, regardless of the evil, makes it impossible for God to forgive us. Jesus made this unmistakeably clear in this parable: O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt . . . Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant . . . as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall My Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses (Matt. 18:32-35). We must give up all thoughts of resentment and ill will: Love your enemies . . . do good to them that hate you . . . That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven (5:44-45), for we are commanded to let the Spirit of Christ — His loving-kindness — flow through us. But I say unto you which hear . . . Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you (Luke 6:27-28).
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God . . . hath forgiven you (Eph. 4:31-32).
Instead of wrath, there should be tenderheartedness toward our offender. Clamour is an outburst of retaliation with loud, abusive language that results from a hostile, unforgiving spirit against someone who abused us, took advantage of us, or who failed to measure up to our expection. Even more serious is the added sin of evil speaking. To slander a person is an outrage against God Himself. It is listed as one of the seven sins that God hates the most (Prov. 6:16-19). Malice, a desire to hurt or see suffering, is an evil that Christ condemns as equal to murder (Matt. 5:21-22).
Instead of thoughts of bitterness, wrath, anger, and malice that destroy us, we should respond with compassion. We are to pray for our offenders as sincerely as Jesus prayed from the cross: Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).
Thought for Today:
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God (I John 4:7).
For Eph. 4:8: See Ps. 68:18. Eph. 4:25: See Zech. 8:16. Eph. 4:26: See Ps. 4:4. Eph. 5:31: See Gen. 2:24. Eph. 6:2-3: See Ex. 20:12; Deut. 5:16.
4:13 perfect =spiritually mature through obedience to His Word; 4:14 carried about . . . by the sleight =led astray by false doctrine; 4:16 compacted =knit together in true unity; 4:18 blindness =closed mindedness; 4:22 former conversation =old sinful way of living; 5:18 filled with =controlled by; 5:26 sanctify =set free from the guilt of sin and make holy; 6:5 in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ =with sincerity as if you were desiring to please Christ; 6:11 wiles =deception; 6:14 having your loins girt about with truth =being familiar with all Scripture.
Pray for International Broadcasts sponsored by Lucille Parker • Staff: Clarence Rathbone • Government Official: Rep. Grace Napolitano (CA) • Country: Myanmar (formerly Burma) (48.1 million) in Southeast Asia • Major languages: Burmese and ethnic languages • Limited religious freedom • 87.5% Buddhist; 6% Christian; 4% Muslim (mainly Sunni); 1% animist; .5% Hindu; 1% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Let your prayers be praise to the Lord (Ps. 150:6).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 18:33