Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT)
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.
I became a “culture warrior” back in 2004 and it made it very difficult to live out today’s verse. In fact, I didn’t even bother to try. Democrats, Liberals, Pro-Choice, Pro-Homosexual, Atheists, Anti-Capitalists, Separation of Church & State folks… I had nothing but bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander for them. I was biblically correct in my assessment of many aspects of these movements, but I was sinful in my heart attitude toward them.
To put it another way, I was getting mad at a lemon tree for bearing lemons. The unregenerate mind is darkened and spiritual truths are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14), so the very people I was angry with were simply unable to see or accept God’s truth… and I used to be just like them… and so did you. God did not cast us aside or ignore us or focus his rage on us. He showed us mercy and compassion. He was kind to us, tenderhearted, and forgiving. Yes, He was going to hold us accountable for every single sin, but He was also unwilling that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9).
Please remember: the only people Jesus “hammered” were the religious big mouths of the day who had enslaved God’s chosen people with their self-righteous and ridiculous rules and regulations. Jesus called them out and put them in their place. He overturned their tables and placed a white-hot spotlight on their hypocrisy. For the rest of the people He was kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving. We should be, too.