Ephesians 4:25-32

NRSV

The Message

Just today at school we had a presentation for our team of 6th grade students, organized by a group of 8th grade mentor students. The presentation originated from the title of a song by Tim McGraw, Humble and Kind. The point they were trying to get across to their younger peers is the importance of being nice to each other, not spreading rumors, and just being good human beings. A large part of middle school is learning those skills as students try to navigate friendships, responsibility, and becoming more independent.

The Tim McGraw song has a decent message, although I don’t totally agree with all of the lyrics (see here). But one line in particular I do hold fast to, and relates to the passage I was assigned for today. It says:

“Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why
Bitterness keeps you from flying
Always stay humble and kind”

In Ephesians 4, Paul is making a case for how a Christian should carry themselves around others.

Vs. 25 – “So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another.”

Vs. 29 “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up,[a] as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.”

Vs. 31 “Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice.

To lie, speak evil words, hold bitterness, anger, wrath, and malice in our hearts is to fall away from what God intends for our lives. Instead, we should (vs. 32) “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.”

In the same way that teachers around the country (and likely around the world) work so hard each day to teach our students how to be good human beings, we adults need the reminder to be good to each other too. There is so much hateful speech being thrown around in our everyday lives. We are surrounded by it through the news, social media, interactions with others on Black Friday, and so on. How can we expect our children to learn these virtues if we adults, who are supposed to be role models, do a poor job of having the same virtues?

Let us always be humble and kind. Live by the Golden Rule; to treat others the way we would like to be treated. If we are to draw in more non-believers, it would be best to treat each other kindly, and with grace. As the hymn that I seem to refer to often goes “they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

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