Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
We are members of one another - forgive one another as Christ forgave you.
This passage is further developing the concept that God has no intentions of leaving us as we are. He has plans for change and transformation. That may seem obvious but I want us to notice the kind of changes He is intent on making.
Every change listed above speaks to relationships. They are changes in how we treat each other. They are changes where others become more important to us than our own well being.
We have a very narrow, warped, selfish view of love. We talk about "finding the right person". We dream of a person who will benefit us and enhance our lives. We too quickly cut people out of our lives if their presence costs us anything. We put seniors in nursing homes. We put the disabled in care facilities. We refer the poor to organizations for help.
When it comes to religion we think of rules in the context of 'things I must do to please God so I can get my reward'. Again intensely selfish. We fail to realize the 'rules' are simply relationship safety barriers. Lying hurts people and breaks down trust which is the foundation of all healthy relationships. Stealing hurts people and breaks down trust too. Notice too that working to acquire money is not just for self but for helping others. Anger if not constructively and quickly processed to a healthy resolution becomes toxic. It morphs into bitterness and resentment and builds walls between people not easily taken down.
There is a popular saying "Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me". This is a lie. When I was in Berlin parts of the wall that had divided the city remained as a reminder. Even though they were standing they were full of "scars" where hammers or picks or other hard objects had been used to pick away the concrete. Words of criticism are like hammer blows to the heart and worth of a person. Words of ridicule, words of shame, words of belittling all do their part in tearing a person down. As followers of Jesus we are to speak words that heal.
The Spirit of God is doing a double work. He is both healing us and trying to work through us to bring healing to others. If we try and take from Him the blessings we want while withholding those blessings from others we are fools and we will suffer since we belong to the same body we are damaging when we hurt others.
"And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."
This is our high calling and He who calls us is able to finish the work in us if we permit Him.