Be Kind and Rewind

Ephesians 4:25-28 ESV

“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”

Why do so many people lie to each other? Preachers lie, though not all do. Politicians lie. The media lies. Advertisers lie, but that is probably a given. Friends and family lie to one another. Spouses who have something to hide lie to their spouses. Children lie to parents and parents lie to their children. It is human nature to lie, yes, but Christians should not be telling lies, not even “white lies.” And lies are NEVER KIND no matter what anyone says.

So, as those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, we are to put away (abandon, discard) all falsehood (lies, deception). And willfully giving people or leaving with them the wrong impression about something is a lie, as well as is withholding the truth about something from someone to whom the truth is due. There are so many subtle ways in which people lie to each other, but all lies are wrong! All lies are harmful and hurtful and must be forsaken!

And we are all to become truth tellers. Now, this doesn’t mean we become obtuse (insensitive) and we now just blurt out everything that crosses our minds. The truth needs to be kind, but kind is thinking of what is best for the other person, so it includes speaking the truth in love to people. It includes saying what needs to be said, but it should be spoken in love which truly cares about the other person and what he/she needs to hear.

Now, on the subject of anger, not all anger is sin. Anger can stem from sin that is already in the heart, such as lust, greed, bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred, pride, and the like, and in that case the anger would be sinful because it is motivated by sin. But God gets angry. Jesus got angry. And we should get angry over some things such as lies coming from the mouths of preachers and unfaithful spouses, and such as injustices.

But we should use the anger as a motivator to do good and to not sin. Sometimes we need to feel anger over things to move us toward positive action, for anger can be the opposite of apathy. Anger can show that we care about what is going on, and it should lead us to a positive and a productive course of action for the good of all concerned. But we should not hold on to the anger and let it turn to bitterness and unforgiveness.

Thievery is never good or kind. Taking from others what is theirs, and what is not ours to have, is wrong and it is hateful, for it cares nothing for the other people or what we are doing to them. And thievery can be seen in many different ways. It isn’t all just about stealing something physical from other people or from businesses things such as money, jewelry, TV sets, and computers, etc. But it can be stealing time from your work, too.

Adultery can be thievery, as well, because it is taking another person’s spouse from his/her spouse and it is making that person yours, instead. And it is taking away from one’s own spouse the faithfulness and love promised and it is giving it to another, instead. And preachers who lie to their people steal from them the truth that they should be telling them, and they lead them to give their loyalty to someone who is a thief and a liar (see John 10).

But we are not to be thieves in any sense of what the word might mean. We are to be those who give to others, instead, what is required or needed, such as faithfulness and love to a spouse, or such as the truth to the church, to spouses, and to all people, or such as our time to a boss. And we should be those who help people who are in need and who are sensitive to the needs of others, with willing hearts to share what we have with them.

Ephesians 4:29-32 ESV

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Now, lies are definitely corrupting talk. We should have no talking which is rotten, corrupt, or depraved. We should not speak what is immoral, crooked, perverted, harmful or distorted. We should not say things to other people willfully with the intent to cause them harm, to be mean and malicious. But now this does not mean that we don’t speak the truth in love to people when necessary for their true good.

We are to speak words which are good for building up, that it may give grace to those who hear. But let us use Jesus and the New Testament apostles as our examples of the kinds of things which build up and which give grace to those who hear, for it isn’t all this mushy-gushy feel-good stuff which tickles itching ears. We must speak the truth in love to help one another to maturity in Christ and to avoid following after liars and lies.

And how do we grieve the Holy Spirit? We do so when we ignore him and his promptings and his conviction and his instructions. We grieve the Spirit when we lie to one another and when we steal from one another and when we engage in sexual immorality and in adultery and when we refuse to obey the Lord but we choose our sins, instead. For the Spirit was given to us to teach, counsel, convict, nurture, encourage and help us to live holy lives.

We must guard our hearts from allowing bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, wrath, slander and malice to overtake our hearts and minds to where we dwell on these things and to where we stuff them down inside our hearts, and to where when they are triggered that we lash out at other people in anger and rage and we plot malice against them and make plans to get even with them for what we perceive that they did to us.

And we must be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave us. And again, it is never kind to lie to anyone. Speaking the truth in love is one of the kindest things we can do for people, for so many people out there are lying to them left and right. Being kind means telling the truth, not telling lies to make people feel good inside. We hurt others when we lie to them, no matter how well intended.

And forgiving one another doesn’t mean we look the other way and that we ignore habitual and deliberate sin. God doesn’t look the other way when we sin. He will convict us of our sin and he will call us to repentance and to renewed faith in him. And he speaks out and warns us against deliberate and habitual sin and he lets us know that if we walk (in conduct, in practice) in sin that we will not inherit eternal life in him. And that is being kind!

So, don’t let the world define these things for you. Don’t let sin define them for you, either. Let the word of God define for you what it means to be kind, and what it means to forgive those who sin against us. It means we do not get even and we give them another chance, but it also means we speak the truth in love into sinful situations and that we encourage those who live in sin to forsake their sins and to now walk in holiness and righteousness.

I Will Lift My Eyes

An Original Work / December 12, 2012
Based off Psalms 121-125

I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
He will not let your foot slip, and He who watches will not sleep.
Our Lord watches over you, and your life He will keep.
I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
I give thanks to Him.

I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n.
Because of His great love for us, He made us alive with Christ.
Through the kindness of our Savior, He gave us new life.
I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n;
My home, now in heav’n.

Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
Those who trust will ne’er be shaken. God will supply all we need.
Our Lord has done great things for us. He’s our friend, indeed!
Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
I can count on Him.

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