Revenge or Forgiveness. You have an important choice to make.

The words of Ephesians 4:31-32 on a background of a golden wheat field and a rich blue sky with scattered clouds. A woman stands facing away from the camera with arms outstretched.

Ephesians 4:31-32 looks like a list of dos and don’ts, doesn’t it? This list of things we’re not supposed to do with countermeasures that we are?

  • NO:
    • bitterness
    • rage
    • anger
    • harsh words
    • slander
    • evil behavior
  • YES:
    • be kind to each other
    • be tenderhearted
    • forgive one another

That’s not such a bad list. I mean, I’m not all that hateful like that first list and I do pretty good with the second, so… I’m cool.

Once again, let’s look at the deeper translation of the original language:

Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind). And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.

…that’s a little more complex.

See, the things we’re to
banish from our lives are all
a result of pride and self-worship.

We choose bitterness, indignation, and wrath in answer to something done or said to us.

We allow anger to grow into animosity and suddenly we’re leaving businesses or even church to avoid people. We become contentious in every conversation, expecting to be cut by words or deeds, and ready to take on all comers in battle. And our words? We’re to get rid of all of the evil-speak, abusive, and blasphemous language. That means when we speak good of evil and evil of God and/or His children, we’re walking dangerous ground. We’re certainly not to abuse others with our words or actions. Finally, we’re to kick spite, ill will, and baseness of every kind to the curb and leave it there.

The things we’re supposed to be and do are all a result of our worship of Almighty God and following Christ.

We want to help one another, be kind, compassionate, and tenderhearted toward one another, and we choose to readily and freely forgive one another.

As believers, we have a choice to make in every instance: Us or God. Who will we please?

Sharing observations over the past couple years, I have to say I don’t see the banishing happening a lot. I see people who claim to be Christ-followers displaying great anger and animosity toward other believers, and obviously contentious at every turn. The Church at large has become abusive in how we talk to and about one another and has allowed spite, ill will, and baseness to enter in.

Where this thinking has taken over, a lot of the useful, kind compassion and forgiveness have been left behind and those who are lost and dying without Christ look at us and see nothing different than what they see in those who don’t bear His name.

Fortunately, there are many who continue to shine for Jesus, being helpful and loving and forgiving to their fellow believers, demonstrating that they are true followers of the Savior. I want to be counted among those.

How about you? Are you willing to begin the campaign in your life to always strive to put God before yourself? Sure, you’ll feel hurt, angry, and resentful from time to time. That’s nature. It’s what you do with that that makes the difference.

Revenge or forgiveness, the choice is yours, and it’s really important.

Coffee, Bible, Journal.

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Faye Bryant

Faye Bryant is an author, coach, and speaker who helps individuals escape the lies of the enemy, live into God’s truth, and build a better life by first feeling, dealing, and healing their way through a stuck future or an abused past, toward a deeper path of purpose, and into the unhackable life of their chosen legacy. Hers is a story of resurrection: from death to life!