Daily Office Readings for Thursday after the 7th Sundaay of Easter: Year 2
“They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart.” (Ephesians 4:18)
The word Paul uses for “they” refers to the people he calls the Gentiles, or the Nations. These are people outside the believing community. Today we could use the language of “alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart,” to describe our fellow Americans who, in most cases, say they are Christian. But they show ignorance and hardness of heart about political divisiveness and polarizing personalities. We suffer from a “whose team are you?” mentality. It is not the way we Christians are suppose to live. It is not speaking truth to our neighbors but speaking handed down rhetoric. It is not who we are supposed to be, it is falsehood.
St. Paul says, “So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” (Ephesians 4: 25 – 26) We can be angry without acting on such anger. I, at one time, worked with Clinical Social Workers while in the Marines as we dealt with domestic violence issues. It took a lot of time to show the young men (I only dealt with men) that there was a specific point in which they decided to move from being angry to striking out. Separating the two can be done. In the military we couldn’t talk about Jesus. That may be why I’ doing this work now, it is Jesus based.
Paul goes on and says, “Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4: 31 – 32) Folks if we give in to the darkened understanding of a polarized culture we are turning our backs on who God wants us to be and the real love God has planted in us through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have been equipped to forgive one another but too often we choose not to. Too often we would rather be hard-hearted than tender-hearted. We are not the Gentiles or the Nations. We are Christians.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John