25 October 2010Ephesians 4:32 - 5:8
"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ has forgiven you." (v.32)
This verse has a deep resonance for Christians. It is the heart
of the gospel, and something Christians say every time they pray
the Lord's Prayer. Paul is reminding his readers that forgiveness
and compassion are essential parts of the Christian journey. The
letter to the Ephesians then continues in a very firm tone. Being
forgiven does not mean we can do what we like or say whatever we
want. Certain behaviours are not acceptable in the Christian
community. Obscenity, foolish talk and coarse joking are all things
which we should avoid. Not only are they sinful on a personal
level, they set a bad example to those around us. How can we preach
God's grace if we are also using foul language?
As Christians, we are called to imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), and to live as children of the light (1 Thessalonians 5:5). This is a real challenge when we live in a world where swearing, blue jokes and making people feel inferior have become the norm. If we speak out against these things, then we risk becoming the target of this cruel humour ourselves. No-one ever said it would be easy to follow Christ, and even when challenged to our limits we are still called to kindness, compassion and forgiveness.
When do you find it hardest to forgive? How can you show compassion in this situation?
Do you speak up when those around you are being unkind? Or is it easier to say nothing? Why?
God offers us a life in the light. How are you sharing that light with those around you?