Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 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.” Eph. 4:30-32

Heavenly Father, first of all, thank you for the new mercies with which we begin every day, including this October Thursday. And in response to these words from your Word, our gratitude for your kindness, compassion, and forgiveness just got super-charged.

Everyone one of us has at least one person we would hate to grieve—whether it’s our grandmother, 3-year-old niece, or a beloved mentor. Intentionally, or indifferently, hurting someone’s heart we love isn’t a small thing.

And yet, that’s exactly what we do to you, when we allow “bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, and malice” to settle into our hearts, seep into our attitudes, and seethe in our relationships.

When we dismiss your command to “get rid” of these things, help us see that we are simultaneously ignoring, marginalizing—even violating, the truths of the Gospel, the riches of your grace, and the heartbeat of our calling.

It’s one thing for us to grieve how rage-filled, bitter, and mean our culture has become. But it’s another thing—a critical thing, to look in the mirror of your Word, and see how much we are becoming like the culture. Forgive us, free us, change us, Father. In Jesus’ name, we cry out and hope.