“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. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 4:25–5:2, NRSV)
The author of Ephesians shares with the Church his view of the transformation that occurs in the Christian life. The reading emphasizes the Christian life in terms of personal relationships within the church and the human community.
In our transformed lives, we are not deceivers for we speak truth to our neighbors. Truthful honesty shows the respect we have for the other. How we treat our neighbor is the witness to our relationship with Christ. There are several other actions we “put away” in our personal relationships. We “strip away” all bitterness, wrath, anger, wrangling, slander, and malice. We forgive others as God has forgiven us. The Church in it’s actions of love and grace “pours out” what God has given to us to share.
I title this Sunday’s sermon: “Making Peace”. We notice that God has already established His peace in Christ but calls us to be “peacemakers”. It is the peacemakers who will inherit the earth.
Shalom, Pastor Mick