Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children, and walk in the way of love, just Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians reads like a “how to” book for Christians, ALL Christians. Its basic understanding tells us that no matter who we are, rich or poor, young or old, we are to behave a certain way. “Christians” are sometimes labeled by others as judgmental. They’re fine on Sunday but the rest of the week that heart that is supposed to reflect Jesus, get sidetracked with the “things” in real time. This scripture is a warning against that.
Years ago, there was (for those of you too young to remember) a television show called, “Smile, You’re on Candid Camera!” hosted by a guy named Alan Funt. His crew would set up situations in public and sometimes in homes, and wait for reactions that were often funny and sometimes embarrassing. Sunday night would find us laughing at the outcomes. But if you think about it, that may be how non-Christians look at us. Waiting for us to show our true colors.
There is always someone watching us. We are all teachers in this world. I used to (and still do) tell my daughters (and now grandchildren) “always” do the right thing, because if you do something to get in trouble, I WILL find out! As a supervisor at the University of Nebraska for the Infant Department, my staff heard the same thing. That we are all on camera to be witnesses of what is right and good. To be examples for others.
The hard part of this is doing it ALL the time. Not just as a means of saying, “look what a good person I am!” or to try to impress our bosses or co-workers, or even friends. This “feeling” of wanting to do “the right thing” should be second nature to us as Christians as indeed it often is. The “desire” to hold the door for a parent with a stroller, or an elder. The “desire” to allow someone to change lanes when you can see by their worried expression that “oops, I did this wrong”. The “desire” to help. This “desire” gets easier to practice the more often we do it. That “feeling” we get in our hearts that says another person appreciated our actions and is grateful! And doing that for someone in need…well, you get the idea.
This is the time of year when it may seem easier. “Remember, Santa is watching!” But the time of year should make no difference. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Dear Lord, let Christ be seen in me today!”
Heavenly Father, please forgive my forgetfulness. I want to reflect your love to everyone in my life. Please remind me daily that you have put me in this spot, or in this place that others might experience a life based on a relationship with you. Amen.
Written by Fran Baatz
Fran is happily married with two daughters, and now four grandchildren and one great-grand daughter! She was an army brat growing up (which means she moved a bit) and her parents (Francis and Orpha Jimenez) were charter members of Sheridan Lutheran Church. She was also the first girl baptized in the church in 1953, so she has been at Sheridan a long time.