Can you hurt God?
The obvious answer that most people would give is, “no.” How can you hurt God? He is God right, and we are just humans. However, we did hurt God. He was bruised, beaten, pierced, bled, and suffered mental torments that we cannot imagine all because of our sin. Not only did he suffer physically on the cross for our sins, but he suffers daily when we sin. There is one sin in that the Bible states which particularly hurts Him, saddens Him, and grieves Him.
It is how we speak to other Christians.
Surprised? Something as simple as how we speak to other Christians can hurt God that much? How can it be?
Jesus died for us, and those who have accepted Jesus death as payment for their sins are washed clean by the blood of Christ. By his pain and by his wounds, we are healed, saved, and Heaven bound. So to speak evil against someone that Jesus died for and someone that loves the same Lord you do, is nothing more than utter blaspheme!
Yes I said blaspheme! Jesus speaks in Matthew Chapter 25 about what it will be like when we all stand before Him in Heaven. He speaks about things that we can do to help or hurt people, look what he says in verse 40.
Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
Matthew 12:50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”
This is why when we speak evil about Jesus brothers and sisters (Christians), it is just like we are insulting Jesus himself straight to His Divine face and that is blaspheme no matter how you look at it. But…. What if a fellow believer does you wrong? Well, they must answer to God for that sin, but what rights to do you have to attack them back? If you sin in return then you have to answer to God for that sin. (See the devotion on UNITY that preceded this one.) We all must answer to God for our own sin, not anyone else’s.
Matthew 12:36-37 Jesus says:
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
Now let’s look at our text for this devotion in Ephesians 4:25-30
25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.
We are all Christians. Don’t lie to and about each other, and by the way, isn’t this so easy to do? Sure we may not tell a huge outright lie but instead we twist the truth a little, or enhance something that was true until it is no longer true. We distort and change the truth just a little so we don’t feel like we are lying but indeed we are just as guilty.
26-27. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.
Wait a minute. Why is anger mentioned? We were talking about lying about our fellow Christians. Pay close attention to this. It is no accident that Paul talked about anger here. It is because God knows that we talk bad about people and we lie about people when we are angry. God lets us know that anger is a good emotion that can bring about positive change, however uncontrolled anger is destructive. Uncontrolled anger causes people to lash out at each other; usually not physically but verbally. It is easier to speak evil than to speak love, and when people are angry, that is when they lie and seek to verbally attack others. Don’t let the day pass without settling your anger because God knows it will rip you apart emotionally and then you will loose control later on. What happens when we have anger in our heart? We just laid out cookies and milk for the devil to come and take residence in our heart and since we know darkness cannot have fellowship with light, the Holy Spirit cannot have control of your heart when you invite Satan in through the welcome mat of anger.
28-29 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
To be honest, these verses perplexed me. The verses we are studying speak about how you speak and then out of nowhere, Paul talks about stealing. I think Paul is giving a contrast or comparison. Instead of living and sin and stealing from people and taking advantage of people, do something productive with yourself so that you may help people and not hurt people. This makes perfect sense with the rest of the verses about speech. Stop spending your time hurting people and trying to get your way with your harmful words and speak productively in a way that leads people to Jesus, improves your testimony, and builds up other Christians.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Speaking against each other grieves God!
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Paul is merely repeating was Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Remember the old rhyme we heard as kids growing up?
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me”
It is not true… words cause great harm, and not just to people, but more importantly, to God. Be careful what you say.
Pray for me as I pray for you that our speech would follow Colossians 4:5-6
Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
And what Jesus said in Luke 6:45
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.