“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as
all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
Ephesians 4:31,32 NLT
“I’m not mad at anyone!”
I came to this realization yesterday while contemplating a severely broken relationship I’ve been praying about … people I love who have stopped loving each other. I can’t help but hurt for the pain of their disconnected relationship.
I don’t mean that I’ve never been angry with anyone or that I’ve never been mad over mistreatment or being misunderstood. I’m as capable of stomping, snorting, sneering and severing as anyone. I just can’t think of anyone I’m mad at.
I’m not mad at Joanie. Although we’ve been married almost fifty-five years we’ve never once gone to bed angry. (Stayed up a bit late on a couple of occasions!) There is no one in our family tree at whose memory I get riled up. My friends are all in good standing with me and I’m not carrying a grudge against selfish drivers, people who blow smoke in my direction or the people who author the manuals on do-it-yourself projects.
As I contemplated this lack of anger toward anyone I knew I was proud of the gift of forgiveness I was granting each of them. Then I realized the gift was really for me! I recall a quote that said: To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
Unforgiveness carries with it a cruel and growing burden. As offenses are rehearsed, hurts relived and the anger from yesterday pulled into today, we’ve lost the freedom of today to the growing bitterness over the past.
This week open your heart to the forgiving heart of God. Maybe the feeling of peace over his forgiveness of you is desperately needed for someone in your life who has felt the cold night of rejection from you for too long. Live freely as you forgive freely.
“ Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor [perpetual animosity,
resentment, strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from you, along with
every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence]. Be kind
and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding],
forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:31,32 Amplified Bible