“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 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 4:1-3
What does it mean to be humble, gentle, patient, and bearing with one another in love?
How many times have you known you were right about something and kept persisting to get your point across only to injure the other person in the process? You definitely proved your case, but the person left angry or hurt and your truth did more harm than good. The purpose was ultimately defeated. The result was division and not unity. You were not humble, gentle, patient, and bearing with them in love, but instead, pushed your own pride in their face.
The heart of Jesus longs for unity in His body. He doesn’t want His foot kicking His leg, nor His hand slapping His face. But…it is so hard for us to get along with everyone in the body of Christ because our personalities are so widely spread and our minor beliefs sway like the wind, but this is what Jesus calls us to… strive for unity of His body.
- “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32
So what does genuine, gentle humility look like?
Giving up my opinions and my right to be right. Being humble states that I’d rather take a wrong than inflict one.
I’ve learned a lot in my 12 years serving on native reserves in Canada, one of which is their culture’s attitude about humility. They have shown over and over that they would rather take a wrong than inflict one. Here’s a story… A white pilot had two native guests. Their goal was to fly into one of the hidden reserves in the forest. The pilot stated he knew where the reserve was, but after circling for an extended period of time, he ended up going back to his starting destination. Once on the ground, he asked his native guests if they had seen the reserve to which they replied, “Yes.” Why did they not point it out while they were in the air, saving time and money? They did not point out the reserve to the pilot because he had said he knew where he was going. If they had told him while they were in the air, they would have been insulting him by injecting their superiority. They refused to make him feel bad for not knowing where he was going, and in the process, would have made themselves look better. So instead, they let the pilot return to his starting location so that he would not feel like he was ‘bested’ by them. “I’d rather take a wrong than inflict one,” to an extreme.
Father God, help us to be a united body of Christ. Help us to overlook our minor differences and help us to love and cherish one another so that ministry can flourish. Continue to remind us that is is better to be humble than to be right when it comes to situations that can be interpreted various ways. In all things, let us be more like you. In Jesus Name. Amen.