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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”—Ephesians 4:31-32 (NKJV)
The Lord knows exactly what we need . . . and gives it to us through the Bible! In His Word, He will always begin by first telling us what we need to do, but then proceeds to tell us why we should do it.
For example, as we see in the proceeding passage from the Book of Ephesians, our behavior needs to change from what comes most natural to us. We need to put away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speech. Instead, we need to cultivate conduct consisting of kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness. This is what we must do.
But keep on reading. After telling us what to do, we’re told why we’re to do it. In this instance, we’re to pursue this new way of life because God did the same for us through Christ.
God doesn’t call us to what He hasn’t already modeled for and towards us. He’s extended all the qualities that He wants us to exercise. Be thankful that He has! Can you imagine if God was bitter, wrathful, or angry towards us? Where would any of us be at this very moment?
Thankfully, He’s kind, tender, and forgiving towards us. This is never more evident than when His Son suffered and died a brutal and unjust death on the cross so the penalty of our sins could be forgiven! Focus on that truth; the everlasting and all-powerful sovereign of the universe subjected Himself to the very worst this world could hurl at Him, because you needed Him to!
Take the gravity of that reality and drop it into the context of any conflict that might be occurring between you and your spouse. As much as you may want to stoke the fires fueling that conflict, to be bitter, angry, wrathful . . . that’s not what God wants. He wants the opposite; kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness . . . everything that goes against your nature.
But remember why! Remember what God has done for you and what He continues to do. You’ve been forgiven for more by Him than you could ever forgive your spouse for. Whatever your issue may be, it’s nothing compared to what God could have held against you. In light of that, follow His example towards your mate . . . forgive even as you’ve been forgiven.
DIG: What two things does the Lord always give us in the Bible?
DISCOVER: Why should we exercise forgiveness?
DISPLAY: How does this principle apply to the area of marriage?
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Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.