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The Amazing Do-Over: Day 5

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.
Ephesians 4:31, 32

But, you may say, my bitterness is a result of A B and C in my life. Or, you may insist, anyone who has been the victim of D E and F (as I have) would have every reason to be angry. No, the above verses say, you are bitter because you are a bitter person; you are angry because you are an angry person. Don’t look for justification; just get rid of it.

Negative emotions are addictive. And like all addictions, once they find a place in your life you can’t imagine starting or ending the day without them. But as an old saying goes, “Bitterness [or any of the above emotions] is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill the other person.” And it is a death by suffocation as your hopes, joys and dreams become limited by a particular person or event.

Scripture tells us that citizens of the heavenly kingdom Jesus came to bring are to live with a kind, compassionate and forgiving attitude toward all, even if (especially if) they don’t deserve it. It is not difficult to find people who fit that description.

Our daughter-in-law has the loveliest note tablet with pastel flowers and these words across the top in flowing script: “She designed a life she loved.” That is almost how our Lord is instructing us to see our life’s journey, except at the top of His note tablet it would say, “She designed a life her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ loved,” that is, we are to design, then execute, a life walk characterized by kindness, compassion and forgiveness.

Many years ago I had a wonderful neighbor who was thoughtful, generous, caring and completely uninterested in spiritual things. Whenever I invited her to my church her standard reply was: “You Christians have been fighting forever. When you learn to get along with each other, I will be interested in going to church.”

The world is watching. Do they marvel—like the king’s servants—at our amazing example of uncommon love and unexplainable forgiveness? Or is our life, as it is lived out before them, a stumbling block to the gospel and the Savior who died for them?

Nancy Shirah

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