Now Paul really cuts to the chase.
… you must no longer live as the Gentiles do,… 22 Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:17a, 22-24 RSV
But Paul launches into a list of specific do’s and don’ts to clarify and help the Ephesians. Most of the items deal with “anger issues”.
Good thing Paul knew his “audience”, even if he doesn’t know us, because he breaks it down even further. He gives the Ephesians a 3-step prescription for anger management:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, …
* be kind to one another,
* tenderhearted , and
* forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:31-32 RSV
Dear Reader, this is one of those passages where I think God is saying, “Look, kids, I know it’s hard. But holding on to anger just isn’t good for you,or for each other. So here’s what I want you to do:
- play nice;
- cut each other some slack;
- forgive and forget.”
- cringing when we read Facebook posts?
- road rage?
- “reality” tv shows in courtrooms?
- domestic violence?
God knows His children aren’t perfect, that’s why He gave us some tools to help us out. Maybe we could stretch the love card and candy companies are making big bucks off of, by promoting Valentine’s Day, if we simply take our medicine. The Great Physician is on call 24/7, and His pharmacy never runs out of what we need most.
What makes you angry, Dear Reader? What are your strategies to manage anger? How are you teaching kids in your world to manage anger?
What if we all pitched in to give God a huge box of the kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness? Let’s start with receiving God’s love, followed by showing His love, and end with giving Him more love than we knew we had.