DAY 7 - PRAY IN THIS MANNER

To forgive can be an enormous task, as can asking someone to forgive our wrongdoing.

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

EPHESIANS 4:30-32

OUR DEVOTIONAL

This is the heart of the matter in so many things of life: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. The key to human behavior lies in our relationship with God. All of us are daily embroiled in the problems of human relationships. We have difficulties getting along with people. Some irritate us, rub us the wrong way, or have personalities clash with ours.

The world is giving a great deal of thought these days to how to deal with what psychologists call “interpersonal relationships.” They are trying as hard as possible to get people to sit down and talk things out, try to understand one another, and thus create a spirit of understanding and sympathy. But the Scriptures always go deeper, always go to the heart of a matter.

The place to begin solving our human relationships is not with other people, but with our relationship with God. Our relationship with people will reflect our relationship with God. There is always a vertical problem that must be taken care of before the horizontal problem can be solved. So let us start with this vertical problem with God: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.

The word “grieve” here is a word that is related to love. You can’t grieve someone who does not love you, nor can you be grieved except by those you love. If someone who does not love you is offended by what you do, he is not grieved, but angry, enraged. Grief is always an indication of the presence of love. Only a close friend or family member can be grieved—not a stranger who might be annoyed, not a chance acquaintance who might be perplexed, not a business partner who might be offended. Only a loved one can be grieved. The Holy Spirit loves us and is in us to help us, comfort us, counsel us, bless us, strengthen us, teach us.

The activities that grieve the Holy Spirit are those things that hurt and harm us. The things that distance us and disengage us from loving God and loving people. Some of the things that grieve the Holy Spirit are bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice—all this must be removed. “Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

See also Colossians 3:13 and Matthew 18:21-22.

FAMILY MOMENT

Can anyone in your family do 490 jumping jacks? Who can do the most? Read Colossians 3:13 and Matthew 18:21-22 as a family. How many times do we need to forgive others? Forgiving someone 490 times can be even harder than doing 490 jumping jacks! Pray together: Heavenly Father, help our family make the good choice to forgive. Help us be quick to forgive others every day of our lives with Your help. In Jesus’ name, amen.

PRAYER & REFLECTION

  1.  Ask the Lord to forgive you for grieving the Holy Spirit in how you have treated people. Choose today to reconcile those relationships by being kind and considerate.
  2. Put on kindness, empathy, and compassion today. Ask God to make you an agent of grace and reconciliation to those around you.
  3. Choose to forgive those who have offended you. Seek God’s help to forgive them as He has forgiven you.

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