“Out with the old; in with the new,” they say. Well, not so fast. The new isn’t always better. My mentor, Pastor Dave, he likes to put it: “out with the bad; in with the good.” If it’s something good, regardless of how recent it is, let’s hold on to it. But if it’s something bad, whether new or old, let’s get rid of it.
As we head into 2022, may we take the Bible’s guidance with us. We read in Ephesians 4:31, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” These things are so bad; they are relationship killers. Let’s leave everything from bitterness to malice in the past. Out with the bad.
Instead, in the New Year, let us be more like Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.” Kindness, tenderness, forgiveness? Yes! In with the good!
Sometimes it’s hard to show kindness and especially forgiveness to those who have hurt us in the past. We more naturally turn to the anger and wrath. So, what can possibly bring graciousness out of us rather than bitterness? The rest of verse 32 gives the answer: “forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Our greatest power and motivation to treat others well—especially those who’ve done us wrong—is to remember how much God has forgiven us. We had greatly offended God by our sins against Him, yet Christ sacrificed Himself to take away those sins.
Our little sins and our big ones are forgiven by God because Christ died for us. If we can be forgiven (and we are in Christ!), we can also give forgiveness. Out with the bad. In with the good. Happy New Year!