Ephesians 4:1-6 Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all.
“But you don’t know what this person did to me!” “How can I treat them with gentleness and patience when they are the ones clearly in the wrong?” I have heard people say many times, “I wish everyone would just follow the Golden Rule (treat others the way you want to be treated).” As I heard the person say this, I remembered how they bad mouthed another person right before that.
Living in humility, gentleness and patience in this world is not easy. This kind of life is so against how everyone else wants us to live. We walk around wanting to get revenge, or even hold back forgiveness. But, in reality, who is holding back forgiveness and plotting revenge really hurting? See we want to have justice done, but we forget how damaging attitudes like that actually are to our soul. We become calloused and do not see people as God sees them. We’ll focus on the brokenness and become blinded to any amount of goodness in another person. There is no one too far away from God to come close and know God. We can be the people to show others this incredible grace by our words, actions, and even thoughts.
Our attitudes are the most important thing that people will remember about us after we have an encounter with them. This realization struck me several years ago when I found myself not wanting to offer forgiveness to a person who hurt me. Somehow, God brought healing into my heart and I was able to forgive. This doesn’t mean I condone or tolerate what the person did; instead I released the control that negative attitude had on my life.
Though I am far from being a very humble person, I ask God daily to show me the qualities in people He desires me to see. When I look at people, I am in awe at how God is moving in their life, even when they can’t see it for themselves. We are all called to show and teach people about the Kingdom of God and God’s grace. People will be turned away if we have, even the slightest hint of, a feeling we think we’re better than them. Jesus Christ has made it so that everyone is equal in the eyes of God. “There is no slave or free, Jew or Gentile….all are one in Christ Jesus.” This is the spirit we should work with because the Spirit of God is residing in us.
God is working in all people, in some way. He has also called us to a live of serving and loving those around us, even the difficult ones (add your own phrase); but God still desires we live in humility, peace and gentleness with each other. This does not come easily to us; in fact it goes against our basic instincts. But, this means we have the chance to call on God and allow His Spirit to work through us.
God is calling, and has called, you and me to change the world with Him by proclaiming Jesus Christ in all aspects of our lives; and to make us a “city on a hill whose light cannot be hidden.”