14 day plan

Family Peacemaking

Day 4 of 14

Ephesians 4:29-32

29No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. 30And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. 32And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

Reflection:  Peace breaking generally begins only with words, so in a family context, it’s worth considering our own. Do we use words to unite or separate – to encourage or discourage?

Can any of us honestly say that that we have never spoken or acted out of anger or bitterness?  Does every single word we speak and every action we take come from a place of genuinely wanting to build others up?  Of course not.  But while perfection isn’t necessary, checking our attitude – and changing it – is… and on a continual basis if you’re as imperfect as me.  May I suggest that the family unit is the perfect place to practice overlooking minor offenses – simply choosing to overlook the small but often intensely annoying things that other people we share life with do?

I’m not talking about serious offences here – we should not be silent about behaviours that damage or abuse others.

There is no legitimate place for emotional, mental, verbal, physical or sexual abuse in families or any other relationship – it’s a shocking betrayal of trust and if you or anyone you know is experiencing any of these I urge you to seek help.  Likewise, if you are the offender, I urge you to seek help too.

Question:  Are you subjected to serious offences that damage and abuse?  Do you subject others to serious offences?  It’s time to get help on either front!

Prayer:  Lord, give me a contrite spirit that I might hear what it is you want to say to me, today.  Give me grace to overlook minor offenses (as you do mine), and courage to confront those things that go beyond this.  Amen.

Ephesians 4:1-32

Unity and Diversity in the Body of Christ

1Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to one hope at your calling —  5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

7Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8For it says:

When he ascended on high,

he took the captives captive;

he gave gifts to people.

9But what does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower parts of the earth? 10The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, to fill all things. 11And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head — Christ. 16From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building itself up in love by the proper working of each individual part.

Living the New Life

17Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thoughts. 18They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. 19They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.

20But that is not how you came to know Christ, 21assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, 23to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.

25Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. 26Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27and don’t give the devil an opportunity. 28Let the thief no longer steal. Instead, he is to do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. 29No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. 30And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. 32And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.