A friend told me about the time he was watching football on TV as his young daughter played nearby. Angered by his team’s bad play, he grabbed the closest thing and threw it down. His little girl’s favorite toy was shattered, along with her heart. My friend immediately embraced his daughter and apologized. He replaced the toy and thought all was well. But he didn’t know how much his fury had frightened his 4-year-old, and she didn’t know the depth of her pain. In time, however, forgiveness came.
Years later he sent an identical toy to his daughter when she was expecting a baby. She posted a photo of the toy on Facebook with the words, “This gift has a very long story going back to my childhood. It wasn’t a happy story then, but it has a happy ending now! Redemption is a beautiful thing. Thanks, Grandpa!”
The Bible urges us to avoid angry outbursts by putting on the new self, “which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). And if we are the victim of anger, God asks us to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (v.32).
Restored relationships are not easy, but they are possible by the grace of God.
INSIGHTIn today’s passage the apostle Paul brackets his words of challenge with the phrases “putting away” (v. 25) and “put away” (v. 31). Though they are translated as similar expressions in English, they are two different words in Greek and speak of an increasing intensity of action. The word in verse 25 tells us to put off lying, as if taking off a garment and replacing it with a new one (integrity and truthfulness). In verse 31, however, it is the challenge to “put away” or to get rid of certain things once and for all.
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