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Summary: We see people all around us bitter & angry: angry at the world because it hasn’t given them enough; angry at God because they think He hasn’t treated them fairly; angry at their spouses ... (Powerpoint Available - #232)

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MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER

RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK

(REVISED: 2016)

(PowerPoint slides used in this sermon are available at no charge. Just e-mail me at mnewland@sstelco.com and request - #232.)

TEXT: Ephesians 4:29-32; Titus 3:3-4

ILL. A number of years ago a cosmetic company sponsored a promotion in which people were asked to submit pictures & letters about the most beautiful women they knew. Thousands of letters & pictures poured in.

But one particular letter from a young boy captured a lot of attention, & it was shown to the president of the company. From what the boy wrote it was obvious that he was from a broken home & living with his father in an old & run-down neighborhood.

Writing about the woman, he said, “A beautiful woman lives down the street from me. I visit her every day. She makes me feel like the most important kid in the world. We play checkers & she listens to my problems. She understands me, & when I leave she yells out the door that she’s proud of me.”

He enclosed her picture & wrote, “This picture shows you that she is the most beautiful woman.”

Intrigued, the president asked to see her picture. His secretary handed him a photograph of a smiling, toothless woman, well-advanced in years, sitting in a wheelchair. Her sparse gray hair was pulled back in a bun, & the wrinkles on her face seemed to fade away beneath the twinkle in her eyes.

Smiling, the president said, “It’s a good letter, but we can’t use it. It would show the world that our products aren’t necessary to be beautiful.” (Adapted - SC)

A. I think he’s right. There’s a beauty, an attractiveness that’s completely unrelated to physical appearance. There’s a kindness, a gentleness, a concern, a love that can be seen & experienced in the lives of those around us.

ILL. Listen to this letter that was written to Ann Landers.

"Dear Ann, I’m a 46 year old woman, divorced, with 3 grown children. After several months of chemotherapy following a mastectomy for breast cancer, I was starting to put my life back together when my doctor called with the results of my last checkup. They had found more cancer, & I was devastated.

"My relatives had not been very supportive. I was the first person in the family to have cancer & they didn't know how to behave toward me. They tried to be kind, but I had the feeling they were afraid that it was contagious. They called on the phone to see how I was doing, but kept their distance. And that really hurt.

"Last Saturday I headed for the laundromat. You see the same people there almost every week. We exchange greetings, & make small talk. So I pulled into the parking lot, determined not to look depressed, but my spirits were really low.

"While taking my laundry out of the car, I looked up & saw a man, one of the regulars, leaving with his bundle. He smiled & said, ‘Good morning. How are you today?' Suddenly I lost control of myself & blurted out, ‘This is the worst day of my life! I have more cancer!' Then I began to cry.

"He put his arms around me & just let me sob. Then he said, ‘I understand. My wife has been through it, too.' After a few minutes I felt better, stammered out my thanks, & proceeded on into the laundromat.

"About 15 minutes later, here he came back with his wife. Without saying a word, she walked over & hugged me. Then she said, ‘I've been there, too. Feel free to talk to me. I know what you're going through.'

"Ann, I can't tell you how much that meant to me. Here was this total stranger, taking her time to give me emotional support & courage to face the future at a time when I was ready to give up.

"Oh, I hope God gives me a chance to do for someone else what that wonderful woman & her husband did for me. Meanwhile, Ann, please let your readers know that even though there are a lot of hard hearted people in this world, there are some incredibly generous & loving ones, too."

There are a lot of different kinds of people, aren't there? The apostle Paul wrote these words in Ephesians 4:29 & 31, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen...

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage & anger, brawling & slander, along with every form of malice."

B. We see people all around us bitter & angry: angry at the world because it hasn't given them enough; angry at God because they think He hasn't treated them fairly; angry at their spouses because marriage is not everything they expected it to be; angry at their children; angry at their neighbors; angry at their job. Angry!

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