Read: Ephesians 4:25-32 (NLT Version)
MANURE BUILDS UP AND ROTS
Reflect: I grew up on a farm. I quickly learned that if the cow stalls are not shoveled out, then the manure continues to pile up. The fairies do not come in at night and magically clean out the barn. Daily, the work has to be done. In a similar way, when believers get angry and stay angry, the heart’s spiritual manure piles up. The devil has a field day. The manure builds up and rots unless it is regularly carted away.
TELLING THE TRUTH IS NOT FOR EVENING THE SCORE
I’ve heard some “interesting” life applications for: Stop lying to each other; tell the truth. When Jesus told the disciples the truth it was never to even the score for all the times they didn’t believe, understand or obey Him. Jesus wasn’t in a rush to strike back at others. Nothing rotten ever came out of his mouth. He always told the truth, but it was always under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
WHY DO I SAY WHAT I SAY?
The manure in my heart can be toxic when I mix it with some biblical truth and then spew it out on someone. Try asking: what are my reasons for saying what I plan to say? Is it because I have been nursing some kind of grudge? Have I perceived this as my “golden opportunity” to settle the score for the 5 times they have hurt me? Is this a Holy Spirit moment or a “me” moment?
DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO MAKE IT RIGHT
The Apostle Paul writes: Don’t let the sun go down with you still angry—get over it quickly; for when you are angry, you give a mighty foothold to the devil. “Foothold” is defined: a situation in which someone has obtained the power or influence needed to get what is wanted. Do you want to give Satan a jumpstart in influencing your life? God’s remedy for fractious situations is to make it a priority to do everything you can do to make things right with other believers. The manure which has been festering in my heart needs to be disposed of as quickly as possible before it further poisons the well.
JESUS DOESN’T WRITE US OFF
Stop being mean, bad-tempered, and angry. Quarreling, harsh words, and dislike of others should have no place in your lives. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you because you belong to Christ. Hours before the cross (even though Jesus knew that Peter would betray him) He warned Peter of what was going to happen. Yet, Jesus also told Peter in Luke 22:32: but I have pleaded in prayer for you that your faith should not completely fail. Jesus didn’t write Peter off; He gave Peter the hope he would eventually need when he repented of his denial. Jesus doesn’t write us off and turn away in disgust. He gives us hope. He wants to shovel that pile away.
I CAN’T SHOVEL IT OUT ALONE
Apply: Can we give that hope of restoration to each other? Have you asked for God’s direction on how to get rid of that anger and resentment in your heart? The piles do not disappear unless I yield to the Holy Spirit. I can’t shovel out the barn of my heart alone. I need the Holy Spirit’s power shovel to do so.