Ephesians 4:30 – 31 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
Have you ever had a wounded spirit? Everyone has, at one time or another, felt hurt or betrayed by another person’s words. These kinds of wounds go much deeper than physical wounds. And most of the time, they take much longer to heal.
I have experienced several types of grief in my life. I have attended funerals of people I loved dearly, people who were much too young to die, or who I wasn’t ready to let go of. I have moved several times, and have experienced the grief that comes with such a move, with leaving friends and familiar places behind. But there is one kind of grief I’ve experienced which was worse than all the others.
It is the grief that comes with malicious, mean betrayal. Now, I don’t need to go into the details of the betrayal I speak of – many of you reading this have had your own experiences in this area. But the grief we feel when people we love and who are supposed to love us, fail to show that love . . . when instead, they gossip and slander and act out of bitterness and anger and malice . . .
For me, it meant nearly two years of sitting on the couch, crying all the time, gaining twenty pounds, not knowing if I would ever be able to breathe again without it hurting . . .
That, my friends, is a grieving spirit.
That is what we can do with our words.
And that is exactly what grieves the Spirit of God, too. Remember what verse 29 said: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up.” Then, Paul tells us not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God. He says to get rid of “all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
At that point, I had a choice to make. I could hang onto the anger and rage and malice and bitterness that was handed to me. Or, I could get rid of it. To be perfectly honest, the betrayal I experienced still hurts, and it is hard to even write about it here. But I have chosen to get rid of it, and God is helping me to do that. If I had chosen to keep it, I would have surely, eventually, spewed it all over someone else.
Friends, God wants us to get rid of the bitterness, the rage, the anger, the slander and gossip that causes so much grief to Him and to others. That’s easier said than done, when others have hurt us deeply. But God will help us.
God will help us.
Dear Father, Please help me to get rid of any bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Help me to be a reflection of Your love.
these words were just what I needed to hear today. Thank you for sharing.
I now hope I shall be able to get rid of the bitterness and disappointment that have been so overwhelming lately.
Before reading your blog I just thought “I’ll never ever visit that woman again after how being hurt this much.”
Yes, I have been crying alone as well.
Now I know I just have to try once more.
In times of trouble I seem to forget what has helped me the most, praying the Lord’s Prayer. Forgive me my trespasses like I forgive..
I have been forgiven for so many things, I should be able to pray and then, with the help of the Lord be able to let bitterness and insults melt away.
Again. This post was probably written for me today.
God bless you.
Keeping all those feelings hurts you more than the person who hurt you in the first place!
Getting rid of them is like a weight being lifted, and makes you feel much better. It’s hard to do though, even if you have great faith, but worth it in the end, I think.
Yes, I understand. It is so very hard to forgive that much hurt. But like you said, when we compare what God has forgiven us, when we remember that in spite of our sins and betrayal that put Christ on the cross, He still loves us unconditionally, then we know we have no choice but to forgive.
This post took a different direction that I expected – the Holy Spirit’s doing! – I started out wanting everyone to know the damage we can do with our words. But then I realized, when others hurt us, if we don’t get rid of that, we will just end up passing that damage along to someone else. It will be an endless cycle, if we don’t “get rid” of it, like the verse says. And the only way to get rid of it is to forgive, with God’s help.
I think that sometimes, forgiveness comes in waves. We forgive as completely as we can. Then, the hurt returns, and we forgive again. Maybe that is what He meant when He told us to forgive 70 x 7 times.
I’ll be praying for you in this situation. Bless you, my sister!
Jackie, you are right! Hanging onto the hurt will do far more damage than another person could do. And yes, it is hard to let go of that kind of hurt. But I remember Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” As I said in response to Felisol, I think we just forgive as completely as we are able, then when the hurt returns, we do it again and again and again.
Thanks for your wise words!
Incredible wisdom for one so young. Getting rid of the hurt – literally throwing it in the garbage and sending it away- must be one of the final steps to forgiveness. Many years ago I had a dear friend whose wonderful precious 17 year old son was murdered because of another teen’s “road rage”. She shared with me that she had to forgive him because she prayed “as we forgive others”. What incredible strength – makes most of our “forgiving and getting rid of” much simpler, doesn’t it? (But still, we must make that choice with God’s strength ). God bless you all. There is such strength in “connection”.
What a beautiful picture of forgiveness. Thank you for painting it for us, Mom!
Great words Renae!! I learned something last year when I was forgiving someone that really hurt me many years ago. Forgiveness is a point in time but it is also a process. When we forgive someone there are so many temptations to let that bitterness come back. Those words can still echo in our minds. We have to remind ourselves over and over again that we have already forgiven that person when we are tempted to get angry all over again. Because if we are not careful, that grieving spirit will be back and we’ll have to go through the process all over again. No fun!! I’m glad I learned that while I am still relatively young.
Your posts always make me think deeper. Thanks for your ministry of words. They are always so encouraging!!
Good thoughts, Robyn. I tend to be a slow learner when it comes to things like this. I am so glad God has patience with me! You are right. It is an ongoing process.
Another thought about forgiving people 70 x 7 times . . . in the Bible, 7 represents perfection, completion. So, Jesus didn’t necessarily mean we should keep record and forgive people 490 times. It means we should forgive them perfectly, completely, times ten.
As always, great to see you!