“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love…” – Ephesians 4:2
We bear with one another because we take turns making mistakes.
I hired a contractor to do a job for me at my new house. It was done poorly. He did not feel like it should be fixed to the extent that I did. Ultimately, I was angry, disappointed, and I wanted to tell him off. Because he felt differently than I did about fixing the job–I decided to fix it myself and deduct the amount I was going to pay him for that specific portion of the job. I remain upset because he did not want to make it right and insinuated that I was being too picky. Should I write this person off? Should I seal this anger off in my mind and always associate it with this person? Well…Scripture says “NO”!
Life is a series of let downs piled up on top of each other day after day after day. How do we experience disappointment and not get jaded? How can people fail so much and we still have a positive attitude?
Answer: Humility, Patience, and Gentleness.
- Humility – “a modest or low view of one’s own importance”
- Patience – “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset”
- Gentleness – “the quality of being kind, tender, or mild-mannered”
Therefore, the response to people letting us down, according to Scripture, practically goes something like this:
“You have done something wrong to me, but I will not remain angry because I care more about reconciling than getting what I want.”
Life is about how we relate to people, not about what we can get from them.
Ephesians continues to talk about anger and we see that getting angry is not a sin, but rather, not dealing with the anger appropriately is a sin.
Ephesians 4:25-27 says – “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil
As Christians, this must be our attitude to all situations. We do not have the option of exceptions. As Christians, we are to endure mistreatment (1 Cor. 6:7) as our Lord did without mistreating others. We see Jesus getting angry, but he always spoke the truth to others. Other people always knew where he stood and they were able to reconcile with Him if they wanted to. Jesus got angry when he saw injustice, but the people who did wrong always knew that he believed they did wrong. In the end, they killed him for it but they could have turned to him.
Today, we have the opportunity to let people know what they have done to us, because with that courage we will afford someone the opportunity to change for the better. If they do not, we can choose to not remain angry–we can give it to God and move on. Our part can be over. We cannot force people to reconcile with us, but we can let them know where we stand, that way the cards are on the table.