Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
Difficult though it may be, we are to trade our negative behavior for positive character. When God commands us to do something He likewise equips us for the task. Therefore bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking are choices we make and not uncontrollable emotions. I have found, at least in my life, that these negative characteristics are a result of personal insecurities, selfish ambitions and my own guilt. Furthermore it is one thing to be negatively adverse to situations and circumstances, but quite another to be negatively adverse to those we are commanded to love. To these we are to be tenderhearted. To be tenderhearted is not passive, acquiescent or soft. It is to respond with one’s best wisdom, patience and understanding. We are to respond to each other as Christ responds to us. Does He not respond with longsuffering, kindness, grace and mercy? Should not we respond in kind?