Read Ephesians 4:31-32
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Have you ever been the recipient of someone else’s anger? A few years ago, I was parked on a busy street in downtown Baltimore, waiting to pick up my wife. I was holding up traffic behind me, but I knew it would only be for a second. Apparently, I held up the wrong person. A man behind me had to change lanes in order to keep moving and, as he drove by me, he let me know his discontent. Unfortunately for him, he was so intent on expressing his rage that he stopped looking at the road and crashed into the car in front of him. (I decided to drive around to the other side of the building at the point.)
It is so easy to become angry in certain situations. Someone’s going 20 mph on the interstate; another holds up the grocery line to write a check; the cashier won’t take your coupon; someone is sitting in your pew… As Christians, we are called to take on the nature of Christ. Christ’s example on earth was one of love, gentleness, tenderness, and compassion. Yes, we are called to stand firm on the truth of the Word of God, but even in that we are called to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).
In those situations where our flesh wants to leap out in anger, remember that, we might potentially ruin a chance to live out the gospel in how we react. The passage in Ephesians says to be forgiving, “just as in Christ God forgave you.” Think of where you would be if God hadn’t forgiven your sins. What was your life like before being free of the curse of sin? Can you find a bridge in this situation to tell someone about that freedom and how they can experience it themselves?
The world is watching. How will you respond? With anger or compassion?
Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the example that Your Son gave showing us how to live and respond in situations that stir up our flesh. Lord, as I put off bitterness and rage and all other forms of anger, help me put on kindness and compassion. Open my eyes to how I can respond in a way that leads someone to see You in me.