The “Get Rid Of” List
“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.”
We live in a fallen world. One that got so bad at the beginning that God regretted what He had made and decided to destroy everything and everyone (except for Noah and his family) with the great flood (Genesis 6:6-8). It is a world that will end in fire (2 Peter 3:10). A world that if we befriend it, we become an enemy of God (James 4:4) or if we love it, then we do not have the love of the Father in us (1 John 2:15). Jesus told his disciples, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We shouldn’t be surprised then when we have trouble and when it feels like the world is against us because, if you are a Christ-follower, it is. However, God does not tell us that it is okay to be bitter when troubles come, to rage with anger or use harsh words or slander or do anything evil. No, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and He tells us to be kind, tenderhearted, and to forgive as God has forgiven us.
All of the things on the “Get Rid Of” list are easy reactions to this world. It’s easy to be bitter when you get passed over for the promotion, or when you struggle to pay the bills while your friends live in excess. It’s easy to rage when something simple becomes complex or the treatments don't work. It’s easy to be angry when the child doesn’t listen and obey or when it seems God’s promises are not coming true for you. It’s easy to use harsh words to get back at the person that hurt you or to sound cool and tough. It’s easy to slander to make yourself look better or to be part of the conversation taking place behind someone’s back. Evil behavior is easy. It seems fun, usually more fun than righteous behavior, but these are all on the “Get Rid Of” list; they are not for the Christian.
It’s difficult to be kind to the person who received the promotion, to the boss who overlooked you, to the friends who complain about the luxury vacation when you can barely pay the mortgage. It’s hard to have a tender heart when things don’t go the way you expect, when the cancer grows, when the child doesn’t listen or obey. It’s hard to forgive someone who hurt you or talked about you behind your back or spread a nasty rumor.
On our own, through our own strength, it can seem impossible but we know with God everything is possible (Matthew 19:26), that we shouldn’t depend on our understanding of how things should go (Proverbs 3:5), and that we can do all things through Christ who gives us our strength (Philippians 4:13). We can do this by following 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” It is through Christ that you will find the kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness you need to live as children of the light and citizens of Heaven.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.