Ephesians 4:31: “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.”

June 19th, 2022 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Paul lists for the Ephesians, and us, 6 attitudes that we as believers must avoid. The word translated as bitterness means a resentful attitude that comes out in harsh speech and actions. Wrath, here, means a sudden outburst of anger or rage in a moment of fury. Anger is slightly different from wrath in that it means a more internal, slow burning hostility. Clamor means a loud, verbal, out of control quarrelling. Evil speaking is sometimes translated as slander and means to defame a person’s character. Malice means cruel, harsh thoughts to the point of desiring something bad or even injurious to happen to another.

The Western diamondback rattlesnake might seem angry and out of control but is probably safer than an angry man. Rattlesnakes are territorial, fight frequently, and aren’t immune to each other’s venom. They can eat their own venom-injected prey only because the poison is broken down by digestive enzymes in their stomach. But if they are deeply bitten by another rattlesnake, it can be fatal. So it is not surprising that when they fight, they carefully avoid biting each other. Instead, they fight each other in a peculiar wrestling match way, where each tries to push the rival over on its back. The victor pins the vanquished with the weight of his body for just a few seconds, and then the loser glides away. He is defeated but lives to see another day. Human beings, on the other hand, are emotionally capable of killing their own kind and sadly often do. So when “bitterness and wrath, and anger, and clamor, evil-speaking and malice” get hold of us, we can become more deadly than a rattlesnake.

“LORD, keep us from these attitudes today and fill us with Your grace and forgiveness as You have forgiven us.”