When I was younger, the public discourse was kinder. Today people in all walks of life choose hate over love, pride over humility, impatience over patience, and disunity over unity. It is very discouraging to listen to a daily newscast. The lead story usually has to do with death, political disagreement, or hate speech.
The apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Ephesians addressing these matters. He suggested a series of solutions. Ephesians 4 outlines these solutions.
Walk worthy of your vocation (1-3)
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (1-3)
If that were all he wrote, that would move us to a much better place. Paul gave even more specific advice.
What does Jesus teach us? (20-24)
“But ye have not so learned Christ;21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (20-24)
What should be the result when Jesus leads our life? (25-31)
“Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:27 Neither give place to the devil.28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” (25-31)
What is the proper way to relate to others? (32)
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (32)
Paul gave good counsel 2000 years ago. His counsel is applicable today. First, salvation, Second, read, be taught, and obey God’s word, the Bible. Third, share what you have learned with others.
This will change the way we speak, act, and relate to others.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001