“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
Humility, gentleness, patience, and bearing with one another are interconnected. Truly Christ-like persons will exhibit these four qualities and will help create and maintain smooth and pleasant relationships in the family of believers.
The humble person does not strive to put themselves “above” anyone else but seeks to serve others. Christ is our supreme example of humility. (John 13:13-15 NIV).
A Christ-like person is also gentle. Humility is an attitude, and gentleness is the action derived from it. Gentle people are considerate of others. If more people in church had the characteristics of humility and gentleness, conflicts will be rare.
Patience (also translated “long-suffering”) conveys the quality of being able to handle one another’s faults and failures and without getting upset. No one is ever going to be perfect here on earth, so we must be patient with one another despite their faults, shortcomings, inadequacies and weaknesses. We all have bad days, and all appreciate others bearing with us when we are not at our best. Extended periods of isolation, sick loved ones, death and financial loss can contribute to fear for our health and safety. All these things can make many of us stressed and irritable. Many people are privately struggling in these areas and are in need of our loving understanding.
Paul encouraged the believers to make allowances for each other through love. Few things will test our brotherly love for other believers as our reaction or response to their weaknesses and faults. Loving and bearing with one another may be a burden at times. Are we prepared in love to carry that burden?
If there is one area where we are failing miserably as the Family of God, it is how we respond to each other’s weaknesses and faults. Love is so easy when there is sunshine, roses everywhere, people treating you perfectly, and behaving the way YOU WANT them to do, etc. However, when people do not fit into what you think they should be or do, then your love will be put to the test.
Bearing with one another is making an allowance to know that people will make mistakes, commit sin, display their weaknesses in many other ways. When they do, what is our response?
(1) Do you find that you get easily irritated and upset when people do not measure up to your expectations?
(2) Do you complain about them to others, wishing they would change and do better?
Our responses either go about building a more loving and patient community or create an atmosphere of tensions and conflict.
Pray for the willingness to yield to the Holy Spirit who alone is able to help us bear the “Fruit of the Spirit” of humility, patience, gentleness and love. May our relationships be truly Spirit-controlled. Amen.