Opposites of forgiveness

by Mike Glenn

Hello. Our text for study today is Eph. 4:31-32. “31: Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

  • Notice carefully that each of the attitudes in verse thirty one are uniquely connected to harboring a grudge or failing to forgive.
    • Bitterness is the state of mind that keeps a person in continuous animosity toward another or others.
    • Anger is the emotional rise of passions when things go against our desires.
    • Wrath denotes the longer burning “stewing” over an event or personal affront.
    • The next two, clamor and evil speaking are the physical and vocal responses to the sinful passions just mentioned.

Picture your feelings in the past (I pray they are in the past) when you held a bitter angry spirit toward someone. When their name was brought up or when you saw them, can you remember how it made you feel. If you commented about them, it was seldom pretty. This is what happens when we follow our emotions and let them take us where they will.

Now, the opposite of holding this sinful spirit is to harbor feelings of kindness realizing with tenderheartedness that those who have hurt you are humans like you. At some time in the past you have hurt someone in a similar way. As you would hope for tenderheartedness toward yourself, grant forgiveness to others as God has for us.

Which attitudes do you cultivate toward your enemies and friends?