"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.." Ephesians 4:31-32
This verse always makes me think of my late wife, because we used it as the basis for the vows we said to one another when we were married, so very many years ago now. It was that last part we used, about being kind to one another and tenderheartedly forgiving each other, and it made for some pretty decent vows indeed, now that I think about it. For such a young couple (I had been 21 for 11 whole days on our wedding day) it seems rather profound.
The first part is good, too, but doesn't make particularly good wedding fodder, if you know what I mean. A little negative, I guess, although if we could actually put away with all anger and bitterness it certainly would make for a better marriage.
Don't you think it's interesting that this verse says "Let all...be put away from you..." rather than "Put all...away from you..," as if I can't do it myself, but it has to be done for me? And it's true, too. Bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander and malice are all typical human experiences - things into which we all fall occasionally, to one extent or another. And try as I might, it seems like I can never be rid of it altogether. I'm actually pretty good at it, too, but I just can't always control it though my own effort, no matter how hard I try.
Thank God I don't have to. I don't have to try harder, I just need to "let" more - to trust God more and to give myself to him more. More and more every day. That's my prayer.
More and more every day, Lord. I want to give myself to you more. Moment by moment, more. Today, right now, right this very moment, more. I am yours. Take all my bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander and malice. I lay it down at the foot of the cross and trust you to fill me with kindness and to make me the most tenderhearted guy I know. I accept your forgiveness. I really do. And as a result I want to forgive. More.
Oh, and thank you, Lord, for a wonderful marriage...two of them! I have been doubly blest.