Harsh, angry, and inconsiderate words are compared here to a drawn sharp sword that brings violence. And as we look around today, it’s very apparent that our world has become more and more angry. But also realize that this anger is never neutral or impartial…is it always either righteous or unrighteous. Sinful or unrighteous anger is directed to hurt someone we’re angry at…it is self-centered, judgmental and takes offense easily. While Godly or righteous anger is directed towards the sin not the sinner, motiving us to right wrongs and speak out against injustice and oppression…thus fighting evil in a way that would always glorify God in the process. So as it says in this Proverb, sinful anger destroys while righteous anger heals.
A good Biblical definition of love is unconditional, selfless giving for the eternal good of others. And if you want to study the attributes of said Biblical love, I would suggest you read I Corinthians Chapter 13…aptly called the “Love” Chapter. But this verse in Colossians is telling us that Biblical love ties together all that the Lord calls us to strive for. So just think about it, without love, it’s impossible to be compassionate, kind, gentle, or patient. Biblical love binds moral excellence, decency, goodness, and integrity together in our lives… as we learn to love others.
Job lamented his feelings of rejection this way, “My friends have forgotten me.” (Job 19:14) And even Jesus quoted this Scripture in Psalm 41 to describe one of His close friends and disciple, Judas Iscariot’s, treachery. (John 13:18) When we’re rejected by friends, we’re confused, hurt, and sad. Why? To start off, we’re created in God’s image and designed to be in relationships with others. And our deep desire to belong is fundamental, so it hurts deeply when we’re rejected….so much that the acceptance or rejection by someone can even shape our identity and how we view ourselves. That’s when we need to be very careful to not value the opinions of others and their acceptance of us…more than being accepted by God and valued by Him.
To put what we’re really battling into perspective, Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Indeed, the enemy – our own flesh and sin nature, the world and its temptation, and the devil and his schemes – can’t be destroyed by any physical weapon of ours…it would be like going out to fight a tornado or a hurricane with a baseball bat. Our deliverance and victory can only be found in the Lord…for only He can rescue us from our enemies. Or as Hosea 1:7 says, “I will save them – not by bow, sword, or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but by the Lord their God.”
God is faithful and will never abandon us. He is full of compassion towards those who fear Him, (Psalm 103:13) and takes pity on the weak. (Psalm 72:13) You may have been rejected by friends, family or the world…but God will never forget you! And remember also that while He was here on earth, Jesus suffered rejection and thus can not only sympathize but empathize with your feelings of being an outcast. He will never forget you!
Many times during the day we have to choose to either please self or please God. And depending on our motive, we will pick being selfish or selfless…exalting ourselves or glorifying God. This Scripture tells us to examine our ways, or our hearts…for within it lies our true motives. Jesus was quite clear about our heart’s motives when He said in Mark 7:21-23, “For from within, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man unclean.” When we chose to please self, we place our desires above God and everyone else…allowing our sin nature to rule. But when we choose to submit to God rather than self, we are no longer living for ourselves but for Him who died for us. (II Corinthians 5:15)
A quote I just saw from Charles Spurgeon really had me thinking…especially the Nurse in me. He said, “What is more important: praying or reading the Bible? I asked, What is more important: breathing in or breathing out?” Respirations are an involuntary function of our body that spontaneously starts the moment we’re born. Inhaling and exhaling follow one another seamlessly even when we’re sleeping. You can’t have one without the other… as the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide happens in our lungs. Together, they make up life…without one or the other, the body can’t exist. In this Scripture, Paul is encouraging the young Pastor Timothy to continue the widespread custom of Scripture reading and prayer before meals for inspiration and truth. For just as breathing is necessary for life, Bible reading and prayer are equally as necessary.
We may think that evil is winning, that the world’s moral compass has swung so far off center that there’s no going back. Or that arrogance, conceit, and any disgraceful thing found on the big screen, TV, and Social Media is now considered accepted behaviors and there’s nothing we can do about it. So what can we do as one person? This verse tells us what our role in all this chaos is…it’s to love the Lord! Or as Deuteronomy 6:5 elaborates, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” To the best of our ability we are to remain blameless, righteous, and with clean hands before Him. So if that’s our role, what’s God’s? It tells us that it’s Him that will repay and fulfill His justice, not us… or as Psalm 94:2 says, “Rise up, O Judge of the earth; pay back to the proud what they deserve.”
The account of the great flood tells us that every living thing that moved on the earth perished. Every being that had the breath of life in its nostrils died…all wiped away from the face of the earth. But one thing still remained…and that was sin. Everything might of been washed away by the flood waters, but not man’s sin nature and his inclination to transgress…that still resided in the ark and walked out onto dry ground.
Many, many places in the Old Testament God tells His people to remember. For back then, oral history was the major way that events were recorded…handed down from generation to generation as not to forget God’s goodness, mercy, and deliverance of His people. It was a custom for the elderly to recount, reflect upon, and commemorate God’s great deeds, wonders, and marvelous works to the youngsters in order that the history would not be lost. And even today, with all the technology we have available to us, it would still be good to pass on to our kids and grandkids a oral history of just what God has done in our own lives…a chance to remember and recollect…declare and celebrate God’s love and grace for us.