Two Paths: Anger or Kindness

It’s good to be back and back at it with morning reflections. Click here to watch my video reflection on our text for today, or keep reading for my written reflections: 

In our readings today, we look at something that is so important for us to hear, especially in this season.  We read from Ephesians 4: 25-32

25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil. 28 Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

This passage talks about two pasts that we can choose today.  We can choose a path of anger, or we can choose a path of kindness.  The choice starts, though, before the choice. The choice begins with what is controlling us.  Verse 27 says do not make room for the devil (I’ve always liked the translation, do not give the devil a foothold) and verse 30 says do not grieve the Holy Spirit.  

Our first choice is this – what is controlling us?  That choice determines everything else.  If we allow evil to control us, what do we see?  We see anger, wrath, wrangling, slander, bitterness.  

If we allow the Holy Spirit to control us, what do we see?  Kindness, tenderheartedness, forgiveness.  

One choice gives in to the darkness, one choice gives into the light.  When we are in the dark, that path looks right, and the other looks foolish. I mean, let’s be honest, how dumb is it to be tenderhearted?  You’re just asking to be hurt.  Kindness doesn’t get you ahead in the world.  Bitterness, that’s the path.  I mean, they started it.  They are just getting what is coming to them.  

That is the language and path of the world.  That is the path we see so much of today in culture.  The bible says that that way of Christ is foolish to the world (1 Corinthians 1:18) but it is the only path that truly leads to peace.  

Perhaps we can look at our actions today and see if we are really following the way of Christ.  If we are full of wrath, bitterness, anger, malice, are we walking His path?  It is easy for us to see worth and value in our friends, but what of our enemies?  Jesus calls us to that (Matthew 5:43-44).  It is hard.  We can’t do it on our own. It’s not a strength that we have.  

That’s why the most important choice we will make today is this – will we give the Holy Spirit a place in our lives today?  For only through the power of God working in us can we truly choose that path of kindness and of peace.  Today, may we choose wisely and faithfully.  

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