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.
If I could sum up what all of our families need in terms of loving one another well, this verse would be my first choice. Imagine for a minute what your home would be like if these words came to pass! Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? You bet it does.
The list of descriptive words makes a powerful study in and of itself, but today I’d rather focus on application. First, it takes a conscious decision to do away with all of the garbage this verse describes, as well as anything else that could be described as “evil behavior.” This takes a firm commitment, rather than a general interest. To quote the great galactic theologian, Jedi Master Yoda, “Do…or do not. There is no try.”
Next, you must walk in a new direction where your steps are marked by kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness towards your family. Your focus changes from doing what makes YOU feel good or significant to doing what makes THEM feel loved, blessed, and cared for.
Finally, you need to remember what Christ has done for you. This is the catalyst that leads to a changed life. His love for you should radically change your love for everybody around you, but especially for your own family.
APPLICATION: Write down each negative word from verse 31 on separate pieces of paper. Agree as a family to get rid of each one…then crumple them up and throw them out as you do! Next, write down the positive actions from verse 31…enough copies for each member of your family. Tape them to your mirrors or headboards or wherever you will see them every day…then pray together, asking the Lord to help you DO, rather than just TRY.