“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
— Ephesians 4:31
We are nearing the end of our summer “Baggage” series, and this verse effectively sums up the focus of the entire series: “let go of the old self and all that hinders, take hold of the new self and all that helps.” In Sunday’s message I shared why we tend to respond like we do… with bitterness, rage and anger, slander and malice, and it is usually because we are either holding on to rights or holding on to hurts. Rights and hurts are powerful forces that if left unchecked will ultimately not only affect the health of our relationships but could end them all together.
In our former church I had a funeral for a woman who had been a long-time church member. When visiting her she talked often of her two grown daughters that lived only a few hours away, but sadly they very rarely if ever visited their widowed mother. I sensed there had been some disagreement or contention in their relationships years ago, that evidently never really got resolved. All of them were holding on to their right to keep each other at arm’s length because of these unresolved issues. When the mother suddenly passed away I found myself planning her service with two daughters I was meeting for the first time… the first time in nearly eight years as her mother’s pastor. They didn’t have to speak of the regret, because it was obvious on their faces and in their tears.
If anyone had a right to end a relationship it was God with mankind, but He didn’t. He was not motivated by rights, but rather by a restorative love. I encourage you this week with the thought that God’s love is not only abundant enough to restore His relationship with you, but to restore your relationship with others. Trust Him with those rights and hurts… He knows exactly what to do with them to bring about restoration and healing.
– Pastor Chad