“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, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Those commands couldn’t be any clearer, could they? Let all bitterness be put away from you. Is there any bitterness in your heart? In your mind? Bring that before God and ask Him to help you to put it away. And the same with wrath and anger, clamor and slander. Put it away. Put it away, along with all malice. Instead, be kind to one another. Tenderhearted. Forgive one another, which is not always easy. Usually, we have, in a sense, reason or justification to be bitter or angry. And God says, “Forgive one another as God in Christ forgave you.”
All of these things in the first verse, in verse 31, are natural to us. Bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander malice. Just look around in the world. They’re everywhere. And sadly, you look around and even in the church, you see those things. It should not be. That’s the whole message of Ephesians four. You’re children of light. You’re people of light. You live differently. So be kind in a way that is totally counter-cultural and tenderhearted and forgiving.
Why? Because, though you deserve the holy wrath of God for all of eternity, He is kind towards you, and tenderhearted. And He in Christ forgives you.
So God, help us to do the supernatural here, not the natural. We pray that you would put away from our minds and our hearts, bitterness and wrath, anger and clamor, and slander and malice. God, even as I say those words, open all of our eyes, including my own, to any ways in which these things need to be put away from us. And just like we read earlier in Ephesians four, help us to put off the old self and put on the new self. Grant us supernatural power to be kind and tenderhearted and forgiving, as you have been to us through Jesus. God, we pray for the supernatural life described here in Ephesians 4:31–32, to be ours today. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.