Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Summer Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!
Kendra Graham notes from Ephesians 4:32
WHAT DOES IT SAY? THE FACTS ONLY PLEASE.
In this step you need to list the outstanding facts of the passage. DON’T get caught up in the details, just list the facts. Do not paraphrase. Use the actual words of the passage. This is God’s Word, a lot of times this step seems tedious to some, but I urge you, as we read, and say and write God’s Word, it begins to sink deep into our hearts. If you just pick one fact out of the verse, write it down and meditate on it.
Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving, just as God for Christ’s sake forgave you.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN? THE LESSONS.
Look for a lesson to learn from each fact. What are the people doing that they should be doing? What are the people doing that they shouldn’t be doing?
Is there a command to follow? A promise to claim? A warning to heed? An example to follow?
Have you ever been deeply hurt by someone that was supposed to be on your side but threw you under the bus instead? The raw searing pain of hurt. What does God’s Word say about this? How should I react to the one who has wronged me in the body of Christ? Be kind, tender and forgiving. Ugh. Now that is hard. My natural inclination is to go into all out protection mode; build some walls, toughen up, don’t let anyone close enough to do that again. I don’t want to be kind and tender for sure. My heart which is, as Jeremiah 17:9 says, “Deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” wants to gut the person in the same way with which I was hurt, to make them pay. After all, someone has to pay for that pain, someone has to bear the cost, to make it right.
Here, in Ephesians 4:32, God’s Word says my response needs to be one of kindness and tenderness, forgiveness, not anger bitterness and revenge. Hard passage to read. Harder passage to implement. Why should I be kind and tender? They were not kind and tender to me. Why should I shoulder the cost and forgive the debt of that hurt without requiring payment? Because of the last phrase of the verse: “… just as God, for Christ’s sake forgave me.” I have run from God, He has sought me. I have rejected God, He has fought for me. I have sinned against God, He has forgiven me. I have wounded God with my words, actions and intent, He has shown me kindness, tenderness and love.
Why has God done all this for me? I am His handmade creation who He loves more than anything. I was separated from knowing God and walking with Him because of my sin, so God, not trusting me to another, came Himself in the form of a man, the Christ, the Messiah, Jesus, and He shouldered all the pain Himself, not holding me to a single indiscretion. In tenderness and kindness, God, forgave me so that our relationship could be restored. Jesus did this for me, and Jesus did this for you.
Truth be told, even if the person who hurt us, suffers as deeply as you and I have, it will not be enough. The hurt can never be undone to us. We forgive others because Jesus forgave us first… when we were not looking, asking, or deserving forgiveness, Christ paid to forgive us anyway.
Go, face the person who wronged you, speak forgiveness to them with as much tenderness as you can muster through the power that is given us through Jesus, and perhaps in the end you won’t lose a friend, but you will enable restoration of brother/sister through gentleness (Galatians 6:1), after all, truly this is the end goal, that we all keep “unity in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME NOW? APPLY IT…. TODAY.
Take the lessons you learned and put them into the form of a personal question that you would ask your spouse, or a friend or your son or daughter.
As you write the questions, listen for God to communicate to you through His Word.
*Do not rush. Do not write things down just to have something on paper, this step takes more time that you may think. This is where Scripture meditation becomes real, this is where you begin to hear that still small voice speak to you, and place His finger in your life and begin to direct your paths…. this day, and the next, and the next. Do you trust Him enough to put into place that which He is moving you to?
Who do you need to confront and forgive? Are you holding debts over people’s heads that they will never be able to pay, yet you continue to try to extract payment from them? Are you more interested in restoring your brother/sister in Christ or destroying them for what they have done? Will you pray for God to change your heart if it needs to be changed? Will you forgive for Christ’s sake if for no other?
LIVE IT OUT!
Hold yourself accountable to LIVE OUT in your daily life that which God impresses upon your heart. Write it out, sign it, date it and claim the transforming power of God’s Word and His presence in your life.
Follow through with forgiveness.
Homework: I Corinthians 10:31
Get stuck? www.annegrahamlotz.com and Anne will walk through the Three Questions with you and help you along!