Earlier I shared a post about anger. In it I said, “Feelings of anger are not sin. But for us who claim Christ, choosing to be angry or bitter is sin. Choosing not to forgive others is sin. Choosing to stay there will not help us and it will hinder our relationships with God and with others.”
Sweet friends, I know the loss of your child or loved one is painful. Grief is hard! I know it’s easy to be angry and bitter when others hurt us, when they purposely insult or ignore us. Forgiveness is not easy.
Yet God does not give us an out when it comes to His commands. He never says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, unless your loved one died. Be kind and compassionate to one another, unless you’re hurting. Forgive others, unless you are grieving. Love others as I have loved you unless they have been mean to you and slandered your name.”
No! God knew it will be hard for us to be kind and forgive others. In fact, without Christ it’s almost impossible! But God gave us the Holy Spirit to live in us. To teach us. To help us obey His commands.
We are told in many places in the Bible that we must get rid of bitterness and anger. We must forgive others as we ourselves have been forgiven. Ephesians 4:31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you,” is just one example.
Colossians 3 gives even stronger commands, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips…Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:8, 12-14)
This is not optional; it is command from God written in His Word.
My heart is grieved when I hear hurting people tell others, “It’s ok to be bitter. It’s ok to be angry. You have every right to be angry and bitter.”
Friends, if I claim Christ, if I claim to be a Christian, I am to die to my self. I am to forgive others. I am to consider the interests of others even as I grieve. (Philippians 2:3-4)
If I am a follower of Jesus, I have given up all my rights. I am bought with a price – with the blood of Jesus on the cross. His precious blood bought me. I am now His. I must obey His commands rather than choose my own way of living.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 | NIV
My prayer for each us today is that we take time to pray and ask God to help us obey His commands. I pray that we will forgive those who have hurt us in our pain, who have offended us or not responded in ways we would have liked. I pray we will each choose forgiveness and reject bitterness. In the name of our Lord and Savior, I pray. Amen.