Have you tossed any relational hand grenades lately?
It might have happened over breakfast as you were discussing the day ahead. One off-handed remark and a good breakfast is ruined by an explosion.
At the office, you probably have a short-list of grenade throwers. These are the folks who pull the pin and toss grenades into an otherwise peaceful discussion.
Parents pass down relational hand grenades to their children. Teachers toss them into the hearts of students. At one time or another, all of us have been guilty.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossian church, he listed a few hand grenades that will rip apart any relationship:
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices” (Colossians 3:5-9).
For Christ-followers, these relational hand grenades are the remnants of our former self. They are left overs from our earthly nature, that side of us that wants to be selfish, independent, and mean.
But there is hope in Paul’s words. In fact, you probably read “sexual immorality” and missed it. Here it is: “You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.”
In other words, you don’t have to stay the same. Instead of tossing hand grenades into your important relationships, you can be transformed through the power of Jesus. You can replace your old self and its practices with your new self and new practices (see Colossians 3:10-14).
Living with hand grenades is no way to live. I don’t want those things in my pocket, just waiting to explode — on me or someone else.
Maybe it’s time to put them aside and try something different.