July 14, 2023

JD Wilhelm
"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
Ephesians 4:31-32

Paul opens verse 31 with a list of pitfalls that followers of Jesus are to avoid. Each of these find their root in anger (v. 26) and demonstrate what anger inevitably leads to. A study done over the last forty years found that the United States is becoming increasingly polarized. The study concluded that people increasingly hate and fear those who disagree with them on specific issues. We can often feel this tension in the realities of our everyday lives. Here we see how those who follow Jesus are called to be different. The call to rise above anger and its various manifestations are to be markers of the Christian community. Instead, the community of believers is to be marked by behaviors that are opposite of anger; kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness.

Kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness are concrete examples of the new life we live in Christ. This sort of behavior is only possible by the work of God in our lives. The Holy Spirit works in the community of believers to bring about transformation and a new way of life. When the body of believers exemplifies these characteristics, we witness to the transforming power of God to bring about a new Kingdom of peace here on earth.