July 12, 2008
Ephesians 4:31-32 - Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
The "Spite House."
You may never have heard of it, but the "Spite House" used to be in New York City. A millionaire by the name of Joseph Richardson built the dwelling. Originally, Richardson had intended to sell the very narrow and fairly unusable piece of property to his neighbors.
Unfortunately, and much to his anger, they refused to meet his price. In spite, he built his house... a house five feet wide. In spite, he lived his life in that narrow little house - - a house just wide enough to hold a great deal of spite.
If you look at the houses on the street where you live, you may find there are many such spite houses.
It's not that these homes are five feet wide; they're not. Quite probably these spite houses look like any other home in the neighborhood. Regardless of external appearances, they are spite houses, filled with people who hold anger at those around them.
These folks may be clinging to a slight, an argument, an offense, or a myriad of other petty problems. How sad to live life this way. How these people need the Lord who can show them how to forgive slights and stop being full of spite.
To teach us to forgive as we have been forgiven. That is the way Jesus prayed. It is how He lived His life... it is what He expects for those who have had their transgressions erased by His sacrifice.
Now, I can't tell you exactly what to do in regard to these folks in your local spite house, but I would encourage you to be nice to those unfortunate folks.
Be Christian-nice to them, because their lives are uncomfortable enough already.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear God, please give me a pure and tender heart. Help me to make sure my house is not a spite house and help others move out of theirs. This I ask in the Name of the Savior Who has moved me from spite to salvation. In His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries