When the hard times hit and the pressure is on, how will you respond? According to Ephesians 4, we both can and should exercise humility, gentleness, and patience.
When dealing with our fellow Christians, we are to put up with their nonsense. We are to respond kindly to them when they are acting a bit odd, or a bit liberal (if we are conservative), or a bit conservative (if we are liberal). That’s my take on the phrase “bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2, NET).
This is, clearly, an area I’m still working on. If you’ve seen my Facebook page, you know I get annoyed over feeling my “tribe” and I are being misrepresented. I do try to be fair—which includes being annoyed when those I disagree with are misrepresented—but I’m sure my level of annoyance varies based on how much I understand, love, or agree with someone.
Nevertheless, Scripture is plain: our unity with one another is to be clear and strong. We are to work at becoming and remaining united.
Paul identifies the “ones” of our faith, around which we can—if we will—unite:
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you too were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord [Jesus], one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
How do we walk out this unity with one another? Skip on down to the end of Ephesians 4, and you’ll find these challenging commands:
speak the truth (Eph. 4:25)
Be angry and [yet] do not sin (4:26)
let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth (4:29)
put away every kind of bitterness, anger, wrath, quarreling, and evil, slanderous talk (4:31)
be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you. (4:32)
Are you up for this challenge? Let us unite around the “ones,” my beloved brothers and sisters. Let us find a way to move forward in unity—especially since we know that tough times are just around the next corner.
Scripture quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2016 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved. Brackets mine, added for clarity.