Make It Easier On Yourself

As I was doing some prep work today I ran across this verse:

[Ephesians 4:32]
32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

I was reminded of the forgiveness I have given and received over the years.  Am I perfect? Not by a long shot, however I have seen how focusing on the fact that I have been forgiven by God for my sins, helps me to forgive others.  How can we be forgiven of a debt and not forgive someone else? 

My next thought was the word "Instead" at the beginning of the verse.  My question was, "Instead of what?"  Check this out, verse 31 reads:

[Ephesians 4:31]
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.

Why do we like to hold on to these destructive things in our lives?  These traits in verse 31 are the result of living a self-centered life, verse 32 is a Christ-centered life.  I meet people everyday that are consumed with living in Verse 31.  Their relationships are strained, their happiness is circumstantial and their faith is shaken.  Forgiveness takes the control and responsibility out of our hands and places it on the ever strong shoulders of Jesus Christ.  Make life a little easier on yourself today.  Live in the forgiveness that God offers you through Jesus Christ.  Better yet, extend forgiveness to those who need it.