“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 NLT
Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus was one of encouragement, as he shares the nature and appearance of the church. More specifically, Paul tells how we are to function as the body of Christ on earth. Paul ended up staying 3 years on his 3rd missionary trip to Ephesus acting as their leader, preaching and teaching the word of God to the believers there. Based on this information we can assume that he had a very special intimate relationship with this church.
Unity and a cooperative spirit was then and still is now incredibly important to the growth and maturation of the body of Christ. We are to remove from our midst all backbiting, gossip, criticism, jealousy, anger and bitterness for these traits are barriers to a churches unity. Those who refuse to be instructed in such matters and continue to introduce these evil behavioral traits into the body of their congregation are not truly Christians at all, but rather wolves in sheep’s clothing, allowing themselves to be used by Satan to disrupt and divide the church. Such people can certainly be forgiven and are to be prayed for, but if they resist change even after a spotlight is shone on their disruptive behavior, they must then be expelled from the church. Evil cannot reside with God, nor should divisiveness be allowed to flourish within the walls of the sanctuary. We must pluck the weeds that the garden may flourish.
Forgiving is mandated in scripture, however, change must occur to know the recipient of the forgiveness is sincere. Know the word and live it. Turn your back on sinful practices and know what purpose God has for you in His kingdom. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
Resource: The New Living Translation and www.bible.org.