“So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.”
I’ve always thought that church has tremendous resources to help folk in our larger community consider how to get along. We live in a time where the cultural disposition is not conducive to building genuine community and seeking shared solutions. These are times of disruption, tension and disharmony at so many levels. How can we do better?
In the above passage from Ephesians 4, the Apostle Paul is presented as giving some very practical guidelines to the church regarding behaviors that do, and do not, build cohesiveness and unity. It invites us to look away from problems “out there” and carefully consider our own thoughts and actions. Perhaps that’s always the best place to start when it comes to being part of a healthy community – with us as individuals. Take a moment to reflect on these words, and consider what changes you might make in order to model outside the church what Paul urges us to do in the church!
Grace and peace,