I disagree with this statement (title) entirely. This is the sort of thing your teachers and parents tell you while growing up to convince you to be on your best behavior. They tell this to us to keep us out of trouble. I mean, it seems sensible; treat other people the way you would want them to treat you. Don’t steal from them, don’t kill them, because you don’t want to be stolen from or killed. But in a larger sense, you’re actually almost saying, “Don’t ever transgress, or otherwise my transgressions will be justified, and I might hurt you in return.” Whether it’s intentional or not, this sort of returned behavior and logic circle don’t make very much sense.
If you studied the Day 55 devotional, you learned that as the new covenant was made, our relationship with God was made new. Our sins were no longer remembered, not forgotten. God has pardoned our trespasses, and makes new our relationship with Him. If that is true, how should that reflect back on our own lives, our own relationships?
Pray: If you’re holding any anger, grudge, or bitterness in your heart, pray God would overcome your anger. He is joyous and anticipates your return to His kingdom. When you come into His arms, all He wants from you is You.
Read: Ephesians 4:17-32
Questions: Based on the text, how do you think the Gentiles lived?
From v. 20-25, Paul talks about “putting off the old self” and “being created to be like God”. Since you started walking with Jesus, recount the things you have actually learned. Is your formal life that much different from your “new self”?
Why do you think Paul gives us guidance for our relationships? What should guide us in our treatment of one another (Hint: it’s not each other)?
Reflection: When you anger, ask yourself, “Why are you angry? Why are you hurt?” When you sin, ask yourself, “Why do I choose to sin when I am no longer anchored to this?” But most of all, just ask yourself this: “If I am made Holy and new; if I am ‘created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness’ then why do I continue to sin?”
Satan is powerful. Otherwise, Paul wouldn’t make it a point to mention that Satan can place a foothold in our lives. Satan can stall our growth and will use everything in his arsenal to tear us away from holiness. His biggest weapon, is you and each other. Our relationships with each other are meant to be reflections of the love that God graciously showed us. If Satan can turn us away from each other, then he is successfully causing us to sin. Your sin never hurts just you.
That is why Paul puts so much emphasis on the love and compassion (v 31-32) we should should each other, instead of hate and anger. If we use each other as examples of a faithful relationship, Satan can easily turn us around and be used as weapons of destruction. If we turn to God and use Him as our standard, we will know a love like no other. On a side note, I’ll be honest, and say that I have not been living out this principle very well. I can say with confidence that when you dwell in anger and bitterness, Satan has so many more opportunities to use it against you. I have been holding onto so much bitterness lately toward people that I don’t even remember why. Paul has challenged me to put on a new self for I was “sealed for the day of redemption”.
Pray: I don’t know; you tell me. What should you pray for? Where are you withholding forgiveness? Where have you not been allowing God to take hold in your life? Best question of all: “If I am made Holy and new; if I am ‘created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness’ then why do I continue to sin?”