Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3 (NIV)
We’ve all had our patience tested by someone difficult – whether a friend, family member or work colleague. I’m sure you may even have had your patience tried by fellow Christians. Life in churches doesn’t always run smoothly and at times pastors, elders and congregations can seem to be at odds with each other.
The instruction given by Paul in the verses above is addressed to each Church member; not everyone else in the Church except you. So how should we respond to other people’s ideosyncrasies? Paul mentions being ‘humble’, ‘gentle’, ‘bearing with one another’, ‘love’ and ‘bond of peace’. All these words and phrases involve active thought and effort on the part of the Christian, sometimes in the face of extreme provocation. Even when the provocation is extreme we are not given the opportunity to weaken our love for others, but to consistently demonstrate the characteristics of the new life we have taken on. What would the Church be like if every member adopted this way of dealing with others?
In Paul’s Letter to the Galatians (6:9) he says ‘Let us not become weary in doing good …’ Hard work, but worth it!