Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
It has been my observation that a high percentage of life’s problems are people problems. At home, at work, in church, and just about everywhere we go we encounter people who make life difficult. We bump into personality conflicts, differing points of view, annoying behavior, bad attitudes, over sensitivity, arrogance, irritability, hostility, and opposition. (I’m assuming that such problematic behavior comes from the other guy…and not you.)
Mankind has made many amazing advances that have improved the quality of our lives but when it comes to relationships we’re no better off today than at any time in man’s history.
It’s no wonder that God has so much to say about our human associations. His desire is that we have harmonious relationships with one another. Our horizontal relationships with others reveal the reality of our vertical relationship with God. Our failure to get along is evidence of a spiritual deficiency.
Some people are very talented at faking a right relationship with God. Some of them are even respected leaders in their church. But there are others who would take exception to their supposed godliness. They are the ones on the receiving end of hostility, anger, and rage.
You can’t be godly and hell to live with at the same time. If you wear a halo on Sunday morning and horns the rest of the week then you need to take a serious look at your relationship with God.
We’ve all heard stories about pastors or church leaders who abused their spouses or children. Such behavior is reprehensible to God. So is the behavior of those who find it sport to demean or ridicule their pastor and church leaders, those who discriminate against others, or tyrannical bosses who mistreat their workers. God wants us to treat each other with dignity and respect.
Today’s selected text is one of many instructions from God on how we are to interact with others. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
The descriptive word “completely” reveals the extent of our responsibility to treat others rightly. We are to be “completely humble and gentle.” With humility comes surrender and submission. We are to be respectful of others.
The word that is used to describe our demeanor toward others is “gentle.” Gentle behavior towards others requires the absence of harshness. So many of our interpersonal conflicts arise from arrogance (lack of humility) and harsh treatment (lack of gentleness).
Then the Apostle Paul calls on us to be “patient” with others. You may ask, “How long or to what extent should I be patient?” Paul adds, “bearing with one another in love.” Patience is to be enduring and we must learn to “put up with” others. Cut them some slack, hang in there with them, and don’t give up on them. Our relationships should be filled with patience and endurance.
We all know somebody who is impossible to live with, work with, or talk with. By their very nature they are combative and cause us a lot of pain. These relationships are best handled infrequently and at a distance. You cannot be responsible for the behavior of others. However you are completely responsible for your conduct toward others. Seek always to please God with your behavior toward others. They will have to answer to God for their mistreatment of you.
There are some people who cannot be pleased no matter how hard you try and they seemingly are on a mission to make your life miserable. That is an unfortunate reality of life. But as in all the difficulties of life God does not leave us without His help. He has even instructed us on the best way to handle such people. Do it His way and leave the rest up to Him. God will bless your efforts at striving to do things His way.
When you encounter difficult people show them some Christian love. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Finally, examine your behavior toward others. Can you honestly say that you are “bearing with” others “in love?” Are you treating others with the dignity and respect that God expects? Is there anyone you intentionally or unintentionally mistreat? What can you learn about your relationship to God by the way you treat others? If you truly love God…you will love others. Your treatment of others reveals your relationship with God
For more on this topic, check out this article: With Christian Freedom Comes Responsibility
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.