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.”
I know, it’s almost too much to take a cheesy saying like “use it or lose it” and try to make a point by reversing it, but I’m game. A huge part of tackling the work of yesterday’s verse and making sure that wholesome, helpful and constructive things flow from our choice of words will be removing the negativity which wants to tear down, destroy and punish.
Bitterness, rage and anger. These must be avoided. Brawling, slander and malice. These must be un-chosen. This means that when we find ourselves enjoying the anger, relishing the malice or laboring under the heaviest of grudges, we must make a change.
When anger happens, we recognize it, name it and release it. When an injury threatens to become a grudge, we seek healing, seek help and seek peace. If we hold tight to these things or leave them the liberty to run unnamed and unchecked in our lives, we will find them returning in our words and actions. Just as civility is born from what we value and carry inside of us, so it goes with incivility.
We have a double movement, one of choosing and one of un-choosing. Civility is a “selective” way that we live our lives, holding to what is most good and releasing what is most negative. In this keeping and releasing we set ourselves up for civility or for incivility. We stack our own deck for the positive or for the negative results when we speak and act. I really do have to lose the anger and rage, or I’ll use them. Lose it or use it.
We don’t use the word a lot, but “renounce” is a good one for this idea. To renounce is to “formally declare one’s abandonment of” something. It’s a legal word, and it’s the idea behind today’ verses. Can I renounce the bitterness, rage and anger? Can I renounce the brawling, slander and malice?
Can I stand today and prayerfully, sincerely and honestly make a renunciation of these things that take root in my life and bear such bitter fruit?
I do renounce bitterness.
I do renounce rage.
I do renounce anger.
I do remounce brawling.
I do renounce slander.
I do renounce malice.
Just saying the words does not get the job done, but it sets me on the path. And some things simply need to be said out loud, ya know? If I choose this path, then I must prayerfully walk it and find the help I need to remain on it.