Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT
One of the best ways to understand God’s grace is to begin to practice it ourselves. These verses give us three practical ways to do that.
Forgive: “...forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” We need to give people the freedom to make mistakes. It is not our job to make people pay for all their mistakes. We are not the sin police. If people sin and you see it or it affects you, forgive them. Sometimes we need to address the issue, but do it with a heart that wants reconciliation, not retribution.
Forget: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior.” Learn to give people a second chance. When Bret Favre was a struggling young quarterback, Coach Mike Holmgren called him into his office. Favre thought he was going to get benched, but Holmgren told him, “You’re my guy. If you succeed, I’ll succeed.” Learn to see the potential in people. Be a cheerleader, not a finger-pointer.
Fortify: “Instead, be kind to one another, tenderhearted...” Give people a reason to smile. My wife Sue sometimes pays the bill for the people behind her in the drive-up at McDonalds. Grace means being kind to people for no apparent reason. God does this with you all the time. Learn to practice random acts of kindness.
Cedarcreek Community Church
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
One-Year Bible Reading
2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
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