The Bible sets a high standard for the way followers of Jesus interact with others. Always be humble and gentle. Make allowance for others’ faults. But what about that one family member? What about people on the internet? What about your unreasonable boss? Or noisy neighbor?
Did you know that challenging relationships can be used by God to help us grow? Sometimes the most maddening traits in someone else are a powerful mechanism for uncovering our own shortcomings. We miss an opportunity to become humbler and gentler if our focus is constantly on someone else’s faults, or if we remove ourselves from every relationship that needles us.
Most of us aren’t motivated to put up with someone’s grating behavior indefinitely with the improvement of our own character as the reward. We obey our calling to God because of our love for Him, knowing that He offered us grace when we were at our most annoying. Not only does He love us, but He enables us to be gracious toward others through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:1-2
How freeing that the struggle to be kind in our most difficult relationships doesn’t rely on our own goodness! As we are gentler and humbler with others through the Holy Spirit, we will also grow as individuals. We are called to extend grace as grace has been extended to us. Who in your life desperately needs grace today
Resource reading: Ephesians 4:1-16