S89P2 – The good death: divisive behavior

Eph. 4:31-32

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

At first glance, one might have thought that these people had it made.  They were wealthy, attractive and living their lives in front of the cameras.  No secret was sacred for them, but that was the allure of the show.  She decided she would sit through an episode to see why everyone was making such a big deal of these people.  As the scenes rolled by she felt less and less envious and more and more sorry for them.  Theirs was supposed to be a story of friendship, but all she saw in that world was backbiting and clique-forming.  Their idea of friendship was enduring hatred and still sticking around, but her idea of friendship allowed no room for such behavior.

God’s desire is for the Church to remain united at all costs.  We are to be of like mind and spirit, which is a sign of the oneness we share.  Yes, we are to bear with one another’s shortcomings and be forgiving, but that is not a license for bad behavior.  Some might take for granted the longsuffering character of this Church and become comfortable being unkind and unloving to the brethren because they are not going anywhere.  They speak hatred and death with their words, and they divide the very Church they claim to unite, resting in her forgiveness.  They think her beauty lies in that forgiving nature and the fact that she deals gently with her members.  They forget that her real beauty lies in the love with which her members are commanded to deal with each other.

The command to be tender and forgiving comes after the command to put to death evil and divisive behavior.  We are to be merciful toward our brothers and sisters, but we also are not to give our brothers and sisters a reason to have to extend that mercy.  The forgiving nature of the Church is beautiful, but it is better not to have to beg her forgiveness.  What God wants us to put on display for the world to see is the love that his Son commanded us to have for one another.  If we put to death all of the behavior which brings division, then the unity of the bride will shine much more brightly.  Father, remove the bitterness, evil and malice within the Church, and increase in us our love for one another.