“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 (ESV)
If we let our guard down, it is easy to find ourselves in conflict with others and that conflict leads to attitudes and actions unbecoming our profession in Jesus Christ. Our verse today cautions each of us about attitudes and actions that are unpleasant. “Bitterness” is a smoldering resentment. “Wrath” is an outburst of rage. “Anger” is internal, feelings of hostility. “Clamor” is brawling, the outcry of strife out of control. “Slander” is evil speaking. “Malice” is the general term for ill will toward others. The six vices are responded to with three commands. being kind is doing what is suitable or fitting to a need. being compassionate is having inner emotions of affection. in forgiving we give freely and graciously. Those who have been forgiven so much by God should, of all people, forgive the relatively small offenses against them by others. Kindness, compassion and forgiveness are what Christ has toward us and we did not deserve it. God exemplified these in Christ. We are promised forgiveness by God and by his grace and help we can forgive each other.