Ephesians 4:25-32 – Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
A few years ago, my wife Grace and our five kids and I were in the most difficult, brutal, broken season of our entire lives. One morning, I woke up and, I’m in my pajamas and come out to the living room, and Grace and the kids are sitting on the couch. It looked kind of official, like it was organized.
And I was like “What are we doing?” and they’re like “Dad, do you know what day it is?” I really didn’t. I had no concept of time or what day it was as I woke up that morning. They said, “It’s Sunday”. I’d been in the pulpit for a lot of years and now I had no idea it was even Sunday when I woke up that morning because it was such a difficult season.
Since we couldn’t go to church, we decided we were going to have church at home as a family. The kids organized it – one did worship, one did communion, one collected the offering – they literally had church set up. Then they said “Dad, we decided you get to be the Bible teacher.” Makes sense, but the problem was I didn’t have anything prepared to talk on.
So, I’m looking at my family and they’re honestly very broken, truly hurting at a deep and profound level of the soul. I was holding back tears, they look like they’re going to cry, and I think “Ok, I have to say something to pastor this little flock”. So, I pray and I felt like God led me to Ephesians 4, which is this text in the Bible on forgiveness. First, I stopped and asked their forgiveness for my own sin, failure, and shortcomings, and then we did a deep-dive Bible study on forgiveness.
The Holy Spirit was present there in a supernatural way that I’ve rarely experienced in any other time in my life. I noticed something in Ephesians 4 (vs. 31) where it says to get rid of all bitterness and to “give no opportunity to the devil” (vs. 27), meaning not to give the devil a foothold.
The point is this – if you choose bitterness, you’re literally inviting the culture of hell and the demonic spirits of hell up into your life. Hell is a place where no one is ever forgiven, and Satan forgives no one or nothing. So, if you harbor bitterness, which is unforgiveness, you’re literally pulling the demonic and hell up into your life.
It also says not to “grieve the Holy Spirit of God” (vs. 30) because, when you forgive, you’re inviting the culture of Heaven down in your home and you’re inviting the Holy Spirit down to do a supernatural miracle – to give you grace to unburden and forgive and heal up.
So, literally, I believe that moment on the couch with my family in my living room literally will determine the destiny of three to four generations of my family. I can’t overstate that moment. We were going to go down into bitterness and the demonic or go up into forgiveness and the Holy Spirit. I had an opportunity to either put bitterness into my kids to poison and sour their soul, which would infect and affect them for generations, or we could do forgiveness that could heal, unburden, and deliver us potentially for generations.
Read Ephesians 4:25-32 and think of any times you’ve acted in anger and bitterness instead of forgiveness. Repent of that and pray for Holy Spirit strength to choose forgiveness going forward.