Although I’ve made the sign of the cross a few thousand times in my life, the Holy Spirit was not someone I targeted my prayers at. At least not for the first 40 years of my life. I knew my parents attended the Life in the Spirit Seminar (LISS) regularly in the 1990s but I was not curious then as I was busy with my career and managing life’s winding road of relationships. That was until my husband was baptised and I attended the LISS seminar as part of his Confirmation journey. Then my eyes and ears were opened. Forgive me, Holy Spirit, for ignoring you for so many years!
As my daughter will be Confirmed in a couple of weeks, I thought it timely to research and write about the Holy Spirit, lest some of you, like me, have ignored and regarded the Holy Spirit as an “IT” and not GOD with a will, a personality and yes, He can be offended too!
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit
This is only one of six sins that can be committed against the Holy Spirit. Do we stubbornly continue to sin even though we know it is wrong?
The apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4:29-32.
“No foul word should ever cross your lips; let your words be for the improvement of others, as occasion offers, and do good to your listeners; do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God who has marked you with his seal, ready for the day when we shall be set free. Any bitterness or bad temper or anger or shouting or abuse must be far removed from you — as must every kind of malice. Be generous to one another, sympathetic, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.”
So what makes the Holy Spirit sad or sorrowful?
Foul and abusive language
Obviously we should not take the name of the Lord in vain. So using God or Jesus Christ as an exclamation or for that matter, cursing with words like “damn” or “hell”, is belittling what are serious important things. So what about other curse words and vulgar words? Every culture has them and I dare say some of us think it is quite funny to learn the curse words of a foreign language.
– “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.” ~ First Corinthians 13:4-5
When people are rude, they are generally angry, and offensive language does not make a young person an adult. When we find ourselves in this state, let us ask the Holy Spirit to calm us and let grace into our hearts.
Being bitter and resentful can affect one mentally and spiritually. And it can affect others too.
“Be careful that no one is deprived of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness should begin to grow and make trouble; this can poison a large number.” ~ Hebrews 12:15
How difficult it is to forgive someone who has offended you or even irritated you. Sometimes relatives or friends say things that set you off and you do not want to have anything to do with them anymore. Forgive them. Ask the Holy Spirit to help demonstrate love to the person who has offended you. You may feel they do not deserve forgiveness but neither do you, yet God still forgives you.
Fits of rage and uncontrolled anger
“Rage” speaks of the person who is easily angered and who raises his or her voice—shouting and screaming. “Slander” is speaking evil of others behind their backs. “Malicious behavior” speaks of ill-will and of plotting evil against someone.
Some of you may say Jesus Christ was angry too in the bible but his anger was not self-centered or based on personal wants and needs. So instead of speaking evil of someone, we turn to the Holy Spirit to not let our anger destroy us. After all “The fool blurts out every angry feeling, but the wise subdues and restrains them.” ~ Proverbs 29:11.
In the end, all of us have been hurt in life, but we have a choice as to how we react.
By Karen Roberts-Fong