Devotional: March 25, 2021
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4: 31-32 NIV
One of the greatest keys to finding peace may be letting go of a negative emotion. We see our contemporary world full of angry people, mad about all sorts of issues, and angry with one another. Yet much of the anger seems to accomplish very little, other than making those who are angry into bitter individuals. Often, those who are targets of anger become angry as well. Result? A very angry world!
Most of us have disappointments and hurtful memories which can make us bitter, if we choose to dwell upon them. Yet what is the point of dwelling on those awful memories? Holding on to the negative stuff in our past spoils us for the present, and makes us pessimistic about the future. This does not mean we forget them, but it does mean that they should not be taking up much space in our lives. One can really never fully forget things which have caused difficult and painful wounds. It is what we choose to do with those memories which will help change us. We can “reframe” those experience, so that we are healthier emotionally and spiritually.
When people get really angry, they may slander others, resort to brawling, or worse. We have all witnessed anger becoming violence. Sadly, we have viewed pictures and video of mass shootings, resulting in lives lost and communities devastated. What causes an individual to commit such a crime? Anger and some form of mental illness is often involved, although the true causes may never be known. Yet it may not be an exaggeration to say that anger is killing us…
It can be a huge challenge to find a positive way to deal with our negative emotions, including anger. Those intense feelings have a way of lingering, or resurfacing when we least expect. Once we choose to rid ourselves of negative emotion, we become the fertile soil into which God can plant kindness, forgiveness, and love. What would our world look like if there were a little less anger, and a great deal more compassion? I believe it would be a much better place, and significantly closer to the ideal of God’s kingdom here on earth.
Pray to the Lord to help you let go of every negative emotion, from anger to bitterness. Then ask the Lord to clothe you with compassion. Amen.
Holy Lord of all,
I am so thankful that You promise to forget my past sins, and to forgive me for every single one of them. You letting them go by drowning my sins in sea of forgetfulness is a model for all of us. Help me to forgive others. As I forgive them, I pass on Your gift of forgiveness to others, as You commanded that we all do. Transform me. Let me be a messenger of peace rather than revenge. I pray this prayer in Jesus’ name.