Going Deeper With God: The Relationship Factor


Ugly confession time, but I know that hidden things coming to light can bring life to not only myself but others as well.
Many years of my marriage were wasted as I held my love for my husband back. I didn’t even consciously know I was doing this until the revelation came that I was waiting for my husband to leave me.
I was always on edge, expecting him to see all the ways that I did not measure up. I would even lash out in fear, pushing him away and retreating to what I thought was safe, behind a wall of pride and control.
Thankfully my husband took the words in scripture literally and followed the call for husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church.
He would patiently and gracefully walk me through all the emotions and pain. Even when the hurt was so evident on his face he would not take his love away from me. He would also show his love, by letting me process my emotions and give me what I needed at the moment.
Suddenly one day I realized I was equating my husband’s compacity to love me to those that would not. I was waiting for him to leave me like the others that chose to walk away, mock, or torment me. I was doing this in other relationships as well and destroying good things the Lord had in store. But it wasn’t until I recognized it within my marriage that the blinders came off.
When this revelation came, I also realized I had believed this was how the Lord’s love for me worked.
I always thought I had to do everything right. I thought if I messed up too big, the Lord would retreat from me. I waited for God to leave me as well. But through my husband’s amazing love, I suddenly saw with my own eyes, how God’s love worked and the key was understanding my identity. I am HIS child. I am wanted. I am created for fellowship with God almighty!
He always wants the relationship. He never retreats. He always waits.

We are created FOR a relationship with God. When we have repented and come to Him, He is there. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Romans 8:38-39
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We can’t go deeper with God until we realize we were created for a deep relationship.

We can’t go deeper with God until we let the walls be removed that try to separate us from His love. He does not love us with a human capacity, but a GOD capacity. It is us that retreats. It is us that hides behind walls (sin and disobedience). 

In the beginning, God created man. Sin separated man from receiving all that the Lord had in store. 

SO… God in His great love, sent the very one that could bridge the gap for all of our shortcomings. We can not measure up, but God sent the one that made it so that we would not have to.

This is how Grace works. The unmerited ( free and not deserved) favor of God is a gift for his CHILDREN

He so loved us that He made a way that we would not have to retreat behind a wall of ugly to avoid being exposed. He already knows all of our mess and STILL wants us. 

So to go deeper with God, I pray you to realize how valuable and wanted you are. He is waiting with His arms open, with no condemnation (strong disapproval), for there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ. 


Now it is with great joy and freedom that I am blessed to love my husband. It is in this kind of freedom that I get to love God and allow His love to wash over me.

This is what we were created for, to fellowship in His goodness and glory.
We were created in the likeness of God. We don’t need to stay in the ugliness but walk into the freedom of a relationship. It is important to realize that just as I want to do the things that bring great joy to our marriage, I want to bring joy to my heavenly father.
I want to serve him. I want to bless his day and see a smile on his face. When we are rejoicing over the good things the father has for us and are eager to love and serve him it is then that we can go deeper and not focus on every action, but the one that gives us the ability to stay in freedom.

I mentioned in my previous post, think of a bride hiding behind a veil her whole entire marriage. What if this bride never let her husband see her true self or feel her lips on his lips without a barrier? Not only would she be hindering her husband’s joy in connection to her, but she would also be limiting her great joy as well. This was exactly what I had been doing.

Ask yourself if perhaps you are hiding behind barriers that hinder you from going deeper into your connection with God. Do you see your relationship through judgment, fear, and a master waiting for you to do wrong? Or do you see your relationship as one of a great connection that is to be treasured, revered, and rejoiced over? Because I know the gift is there for those that are willing to receive.

Hope in Times of Uncertainty

Epesians 1:18 – I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,

Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
There is no doubt that in some ways we are living in one of our worst moments this generation has experienced. We have been hit with the ugliest fight in politics that I have ever seen. There are enormously heavy hidden things coming out that are often too much for the mind to absorb. We have had unprecidented natural desasters, wild fires, and hard hits in the economy (again).
Not to mention the required isolation during COVID-19, and an increase in major depression and suicide.

There is so much on the shoulders of mankind in 2020. So how can we walk in hope with the weight that is baring down on us?

We must stir our hope up!

We stir up hope by walking in an expectation for a positive future. We stir up the truth that we will see the victory. We rejoice. We declare and walk with our head on what we are expecting rather than what we are having thrown at us.

We must not look at these times, and sit back with hands thrown up declaring it is hopeless. It is not hopeless!!!
There is so much in these situations to learn and grow. Businesses are being birthed as people are home and needing to redesign their income. People at home are becoming more creative, getting things accomplished that before they had no time available for. Families are valuing their time together in new ways. We are now longing for true connection, that without COVID-19 we allowed to go dormant. Communities are coming together to help those that have faced loss and disaster.

It is important to remember that in our waiting God is there. We are not forgotten. We have a purpose and in this time some of us are just now awakening to what that purpose is.

HOPE– Let us pursue with expectation God hears us and meets us where we are at.
Jeremiah 29:12- Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

HOPE-Let us pursue with expectation we DO have a purpose in all this. We have been created for such a time as this. Jeremiah 29:11- For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

HOPE– Let us pursue with expectation the kind of person that we want to be on the other side of this weighty and heavy time in history.
Colossians 3:14- And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

HOPE – Let us pursue with expectation that there is a victory ahead of us. We will overcome and be stronger because of what we have grown through.
1 Peter 5:10-  And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Hope moves us forward. It pushes into our next. When we are feeling all is lost or we are miserable in our situation, it is up to us to look to where our HOPE comes from. We cannot afford to stay dormant and hide. Others need us and we will not function in our best if we hang our head down and walk in hopelessness.
Psalm 121:1- I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.


One way to generate hope is to invest in others. With Covid-19 this may mean some creativity. I have seen all kinds of online support groups and opportunities to connect.
Book clubs, bible studies, hobby interests and ministry pages. There is opportunity even at home to socialize and take the time to instil hope into others. Stirring hope for others stirs hope within our own hearts. Ask yourself if you are called to contribute in a new way to a social outlet. Perhaps start something that has been on your heart for some time. Now is the time to go after it!

God is a God of HOPE. He genertes hope within us as we give thanksgiving.
Start today, thanking for that which you expect and want to see.

I just know we will begin to see great things!


Cancer has opened my eyes to Racism

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It amazes me what slowly becomes normal even when it is an offense.
For years now, my body was making adjustments due to the tumor in my bladder. It happened slowly and until my diagnosis, I did not have an AHA moment.
I was bending over less. I was lifting less. I would try to work out and have incredible pain and link it to being out of shape or other medical conditions. I was growing more and more tired to the point that even the idea of getting dressed after a shower was too much. This went on for years and I just felt it was ‘normal’ as it built up so slowly I didn’t stop and think how much I had declined.
I had this offense in my body and I kept belittling the importance. Everything around me was taking precedence over cancer within me and it was unnoticed. Family, activities, other health issues. It went on to the point that God had to bring a miracle into my life to bring it to light.

Now I know the cancer is there and I will fight. Now I will not sit back and let it be my normal.

This is our responsibility today concerning the racism that has taken root in our country from the beginning.
Some things improve and so we say it is no longer an issue,
or we see them as little issues (there is no ‘little’ concerning racism but some view it that way).
We don’t realize in our limited world experience that the cancer is still there under the surface growing bigger than our eyes can see.

Just because some of our issues regarding racism has improved, does not mean the evil behind it is not still very relevant and growing. It is a spirit that spreads from one heart to another, starting with what one would consider no big deal, taking root and becoming an even bigger disease.

The truth is, we can take care of this, one offense at a time, now that it is being identified fresh, and in the light in a new way (Black people have been screaming for revelation all along) but our eyes were hidden to the great attention this cancer needed. We were too busy with our own selves, our own goals, our own agendas to really see what was hidden. Especially when living in a predominantly white community I had no idea how my friends have been treated.

We were conditioned by other generations that there was no longer an issue. Some believe a word or stereotype is not a big deal. But it is a very big deal. It is the beginning seed that grows into a ravishing disease.

Let us start by addressing the real enemy and not ignoring the things that we have adapted to be normal. It is not normal that ANY human being to be treated as or to feel less than or to fear for their safety due to any differences.
It is NOT normal or acceptable to be a part of that pain that is inflicted.

You may not be cancer, but you may be one of the symptoms that you have easily brushed away. Evaluate how you are going to attack this thing that has become our normal.

Will you slap a bandaid over it? Or will you stand up and be a part of the cure?

She is clothed in Strength and Dignity

Writing4Joy
“Strength and Dignity”

Proverbs 31:25
She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.
She makes me laugh. She gives hope when I feel discouraged. She reminds me that my mind needs to have redirection when I am thinking of the things that are not life-giving. She is a woman of Grace.  She understands my struggles, either because she has lived them or because she is walking close to the one that knows my every moment and breath.
She is my friend. She is my warrior in battle. She is a Proverbs 31 woman. A woman fully clothed in strength and dignity.

Who is she? She is many. She is the many women that the Lord has put in my life to edify, encourage, build up, and strengthen me in this thing we call life.
In the presence of these mighty women, I can’t help be changed and transformed to be the woman that God had created me to be.

Just as the scripture says bad company corrupts good character (I Cor. 15:33), so can a strong woman influence the ladies within her circle.

Because she spent the time to cultivate my walk, I am able to say that I too am a woman of strength and dignity. I too can laugh at my future without fear.

I have been blessed to have women in my life give of themselves and take the time to instruct and teach the truth. They have spoken into my nows, for the development of my next.

Who the Lord chooses to place in my life has taken turns over the years. But each one that has imparted has made a lasting impact. I remember the women, that taught a young girl, how to raise my hands in worship. I remember the women that taught me how to go to the scriptures in all of my trials, longing, and joys. I remember the women that taught me how to be a wife that saught God’s plans for my family. I remember the woman that spoke to me as a young mother and reminded me that the seasons would go fast and to enjoy each moment. I remember the woman that taught me how to retrain my thoughts. I remember the woman that told me I was assuming another’s heart was ill-intentioned and that I  needed to trust in God for other’s motives and love without restriction. I remember the woman that spoke into my life, teaching me about my identity in Christ.

These many women changed my life from the victim to the victorious. From the mundane to the extraordinary. To a life full of expectation rather than a focus on what was lost or left behind.

Because she was willing to invest, I too can boldly say that I  am a woman clothed in strength and dignity and I can laugh without fear of the future. Because of the Holy Spirit within her pouring out, I was changed.

She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.
She can walk in this truth as she listens to the instruction of the Lord. She dwells with the Holy Spirit. Letting His power be at work within.

She may not even know the impact she has made. For her efforts may have seemed so small in the grand scheme of things. But to the one that had her life changed, it meant everything.

She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.

Loneliness: Call Me

 

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Awakened Arts: Call Me Anytime

 

Sometimes the damage of rejection can have roots that run deep. I have had seasons of extreme loneliness. Many times, it had been a lingering feeling of not having a place in the world. The mind can play games when you have a lot of time on your hands. The silence can be your biggest enemy.

Often my loneliness had been my own making. I have hurt others by canceling plans due to my illness. I understand their frustration, it would break my heart to cancel and the lies start wreaking havoc about my worth. So then I would not make plans, and the invites never came.
Also,  I am not one to love talking on the phone, in fact I cringe at the thought. I get anxious about the onslaught of sensory overload that inevitably follows phone conversations. My form of communication is writing, or time together, but not everyone works the same way.

Society teaches us to not invite ourselves. And I have done the inviting more times than I can count, only to sit back and watch everyone else gather time and again without an invite. I have traveled 8 hours twice to go spend time with a friend, only to have them unable to go 10 min out of their way to come see me when we were in the same town, they rather take a picture of a building (their bucket list item), than allowing a few minutes for a quick hello and hug as they passed through. It has hurt extremely deeply. And the enemy would use these moments to attack, the remembrance that others didn’t want me, and actually preferred I didn’t exist at all, would ring loud in my head after every new rejection.

There have been times I even voiced my loneliness to others, to only receive empty stares back at me or a nod of understanding but then weeks of silence followed. Even if I was unable to do, the invite would have been a treasure.

I have beaten myself up with lies that I am unlovely and unwanted.  I surely must be annoying or boring or any other ‘thing’ that would keep others uninterested in spending time with me by their own choice, would fill my head.

I even ordered a book titled: Uninvited- Lysa Terkeurst which I have yet to read as I lost it in some transitions.

Imagine my surprise, when a friend heard my words, “I am lonely”, and acted on them. She heard my cry and invited me to coffee.
She shared her own seasons of loneliness. And admitted that the Lord told her if you are lonely do something about it. This truth touched my very core.
I had been letting the enemy lie to me so much I stopped reaching out. I was waiting for everyone else to notice me, in a world where sometimes, this just does not happen.
To see someone so charismatic, beautiful, fun, well-loved, talented, gifted and all other things lovely, to deal with being lonely was a shock to me.

It was a few days later the Lord had revealed a life-giving truth to me.  When loneliness rises up, it is often a tugging and call from the Lord.
He wants to spend time with us. Loving and healing us through our inner hurts. He wants the opportunity to sit in His presence. It is in those moments with Him that I have been given hope, peace, joy, healing, and revelations. It is in those moments that I discovered my identity. I discovered that I am wanted. My pain has melted away and new life rises up.
When I get so wrapped up in the fact that I am sitting in silence and the invites are not coming, I miss the most important invite of all. He tells me I can call anytime. He is there and faithful to seek us out. To draw us near. And meet us right where we are at.

One of my favorite scriptures ‘rings’ so true at this moment.
Jeremiah 33:3-  Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things that you do not know.  

We are now in a season where loneliness is knocking on our doors. We can not reach out and gather the way many of us value. We can’t busy our thoughts of isolation away. It is the forefront in our mind.

I want to encourage you this day my friend. Call to the Lord, ask Him what new treasure He may have for you. What hidden truths does He want to bring to light? How can only He fill the innermost needs in your life that are missing?

The time will come, we can be busy, social and all the good things fellowship brings. This is a time to call on Him, like never before. There are so many great things to discover.

I am spending time today…. just calling…listening and enjoying.
Here is a song to enjoy in the journey. Call Me 

 

When the World Went Silent

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When the world went silent we truly began to see.
We learned to enjoy what we have and how to just be.

When the world went silent we began to care.
We work together and some of us learned how to share.

When the world went silent our hearts began to cry.
Together we were moved to mourn the loss of many lives.

When the world went silent we fell to our knees.
We cried out for freedom and hearts to be filled with peace.

When the world went silent we saw what held our hearts captive.
We learned how to look to others with renewed compassion.

When the world went silent we began to live anew.
We began to long for our community and love grew.

When the world went silent it was then that our ears were able to hear.
We began to open our souls and walk in a knowing greater than fear.

When the world went silent we saw how strong we could really be.
We opened our hearts and with God, who goes before us, we were set free.

 

Shaey Anthony (Writing4Joy) March 2020

Help

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Help. Why has this word been so tainted? Why does the word “help” represent weakness to many instead of strength?

When you have exhausted all your own efforts and still banging your head against the wall, asking for help can move you into the greater faster. With help, there comes the opportunity for support and can often bring better results.

I have a vision of a giant city bridge. It is beautiful in structure. But without the support underneath that bridge, it will not stand and extend to fill the gap and do all that it was created for.

There are times I have been frustrated that help has not come. I have been the hamster on the wheel getting nowhere with all my efforts. I wonder, “why am I in this alone?” The answer is simple. I was in it all alone, because I didn’t bother to ask for help. I kept plugging along trying to figure it all out when some of the answers were not attainable to me.

It is wise to reach out for strong counsel when you need help. It is comforting and encouraging to reach out the God that created you to rest in the Lord’s promise that He comes to help in your time of need.
You can rise with confidence that you are not in this process alone. Help has arrived. Asking for help allows a deeper connection. It reveals our humanness. It leaves you with room to focus on the solution rather than the struggle.

I encourage you my friend, don’t walk in your struggles alone. When you have done all that you can do, ask for help to see you onto your best self. Ask the Lord to comfort you, encourage you, give you wisdom and open the doors to propel you on.

Think of the bridge again. This time we are thinking of a draw bridge that is open. You can make it part of the way, but you can not cross to the other side until the bridge is lowered and connected. You are on one side, standing it alone. Your hopes, dreams, and goals are waiting on the other side. Ask for help to connect your bridge.  Use the effort you have put in, and the effort, wisdom or support of another to fully arrive.

Along with resting in the Lord and His promise of help, sometimes He will use others.
Ask those around you for help. Look to a professional for help. But please stop trying to do it all on your own. Depression, isolation, and defeat is not a sign of strength, rather, it will take you longer to arrive (if you even do). And you may just have been striving for so long and hard that you show up too exhausted to enjoy the fruit of arrival.

Asking for help is not a weakness, in fact, it just may be the strongest thing you ever did in your life. I will start my mornings asking God to help me when morning dawns and I will not be moved in my strength!

A Time to Bloom

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Luke 12:27 
“Consider how the wildflowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all of his splendor was dressed like one of these.” 
 

As spring is approaching, I can not get the word “bloom” out of my mind.
I feel a tugging in my spirit that the long-awaited time will one day be over and the beauty of what God has planted within me will come into fruition.
I do not know what that will look like. But I am reminded that it will be in HIS season. Just as each flower has the perfect time to display her glory, so will I have a perfect time to share what is unique only to me. It will be my time to bloom as assuredly as the sun will rise.

Bloom: 1. a flower, especially one cultivated for its beauty.

A flower can be wild and free. But still needs to be planted on the right soil to flourish. She will still need to take root. She will need to be nourished. She will be cultivated (refined) in her process.

I find that I have had many seasons in my life, where my blooming process has seemed to be delayed. Sometimes this is the hand of the Lord, refining me, cultivating me and preparing me. Sometimes it has been a harder year and I am reminded of a late frost delaying spring, as life circumstances swirl around me.
Lastly, there is also the factor of the soil I have been planted on. In order to bloom, we need proper nourishment. If I am not growing in the areas the Lord needs for me to grow in, I will not find my time to bloom.

I am one that will need a bit of coaxing to step into the unknown and unfamiliar. I do not like change, or trying things that I feel less than qualified for, and honestly, I feel less than qualified in every area.
I have dealt with the lies of the enemy that nobody wants what I have to offer. I have viewed myself as the weed instead of the bloom to be.
I have sulked and hidden away when I am called to weather the nitty-gritty and to grow a nice strong stem. For without that strong stem, it is impossible to hold the bloom up high.

There have been times I am called to step out and ‘transplant’ to the proper ground for the cultivation needed to bloom at the ideal moment.
I am so thankful for the seasons, for the gardener that knows what I need, even before I do.
The Lord is the master gardener. In His care, I do not have to toil and spin.  He cultivates and uses the tools to give me the strength to become what He is calling me to.
He brings those beside me, that helps nourish the soil that builds strong roots.
It is true that in the process of growing there were times I wasn’t sure what I needed.
But the gardener was.  He will bring along all the right influences, encouragements and opportunity to bloom when it is my time.

The very meaning of bloom is to peak at an ideal moment.

I won’t rush. I will wait for the gardener. I will not labor and spin. I will rest in the knowledge that He already sees the day of fruition.
Just as it is supposed to, a time to bloom will arrive.

Dear Daughter-in-law

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Dear Daughter-in-law,

My sons are one of my deepest loves. I will fight for and support them until the day I die.  There is a lie out there that mother-in-law has to be the enemy. I am so thankful that this is not the case but there is more on my heart for you to know.
One of the best ways that I can love my adult son is to be your champion.

Champion: To fight for, defend, or support.

Daughter-in-law, you are a fellow woman but more than that you are now my family. I will shout for joy with your accomplishments, I will walk with you through the trials and be a source of hope when you are feeling less than.

Daughter-in-law, your concerns are my concerns. I will not side with my son just because he is my son when you come to me for counsel. I am your champion as well as his. You can confidently know that I will not run to him every time you may come to me with something on your heart. You can know I don’t ever expect you to come but I am always here when you need to.

I champion your success. I champion for you to be joyful, confident and fulfilled not only in your marriage but in your place of this family.
You are to always come first in his life. You are to be his focus and your happiness is his greatest concern.

Daughter-in-law, you are a treasure to never be overlooked as life gets crazy or the comfortable sets in, I will remind him to date you and pursue you forever. To listen to your heart. To be your helper and leader. To put your needs above his own and to love you first.
His greatest duty is to you, his wife and partner. I will forever be your champion because not only are you his, you are now mine.

 

Sorry… Not Sorry

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An open letter of apology, for those who were before and those yet to come.

Authentic: not false or copied; genuine; real: representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified: reliable; trustworthy:

I am sorry I had spoken too quickly, I will now be more aware. I am sorry that I thought our relationship was at a level that we could speak openly into each other’s lives, the good the bad and the real. I am sorry that you were hurt. I am sorry that you feel that I was not the kind of person you wanted to be around because in your words; “we are too different”. I am sorry you didn’t feel bold enough to tell me I crossed the line or anything was wrong. I am sorry that I thought you understood my physical limits, sometimes my smile hides the reality.

I am not sorry that I am authentic, it is who I am. I am not sorry that I seek a community that is bold and truthful with one another, I am not one for a smile and the fake.
I am not sorry that I can’t measure up to your expectations, especially if I don’t know what they are.   I am not sorry that I am human, flaws and all. I am not sorry that I want to know all of you; the good the bad and the real. I am not sorry that when I see one hurting and pouring out their heart to me, I have wanted to share that I too have been there and where my truths and personal victories came from. I am not sorry that when I share all of me, my hope is that you will share all of you. I am not sorry that I am open to the fullest connection. I am not sorry that I told the blunt truth even if it hurt, because others have done so for me and it was my defining moments of clarity. I am not sorry that I must grow and learn from this and now know that not everyone wants the same kind of relationship.

Yes, we are called to encourage, lift up, edify and bring joy.  However, if I saw you walking straight into oncoming traffic, I would grab you and pull you out of the danger zone. I would not smile and wave you on.

Let me say to the ones that are absolutely completely my polar opposites, that love me just as I am, to those that can discuss everything under the sun, even if we don’t agree and still smile across the table without being offended, that will tell me when I am too much, or that they flat out believe I am insane because I believe in a God that speaks to me and they don’t believe in one at all, thank you. Thank you for loving me, and making the effort to be true with me. Thank you for not discarding me like so many have. Thank you for the lesson that just because you want someone to love you, it doesn’t mean they will, but others are waiting. I am sorry for the disconnect, but I am not sorry for being me.

Lord help me walk in this truth. Reveal where I lack and give me the wisdom needed to know who is my community. 

Ephesians 4:20-32 English Standard Version (ESV)

20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[a] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.28 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. 29 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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.