Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love. – Ephesians 4:2
Today is setting up to be extra-busy, with overlapping details and appointments and meetings and commitments to the extent that it may turn out to be a wash in terms of productive writing.
So I pulled up my “verse of the day” and found myself in Ephesians. Reading these words makes me want to search the scriptures and find all the passages that hold such a sentiment. Key words: Humility; Gentleness; Patience; Acceptance; Love.
Of course, this is the message of the Gospel. Jesus himself said everything that is importance – all the law and the prophets – should be viewed through the lens of love.
What Are You FOR?
Then there’s a real dovetail here with Rebekah’s message Sunday about pride. You can’t talk about this foundational, bedrock sin without considering arrogance, narcissism, pomposity, hubris, self-importance, self-righteousness, self-centeredness, egotism, condescension, swagger… and that’s just getting the list started.
If we really are followers of Jesus then the path we take is going to be the Ephesians journey of humility, gentleness, patience, acceptance, and love.
Too often our energy can get focused on what we’re against. Taking a stand against this, protesting that, marching against something else. Much of the rhetoric can be damning, angry, self-righteous, arrogant.
But this wasn’t the way of Jesus. Jesus came alongside people, he ate dinner with them, he looked into their hearts and reminded them how much God loves them. The only people Jesus seemed to be against were the scribes and pharisees – and only then because they were so quick to judge everyone else.
Jesus was against sin, let’s not misunderstand that, but his solution to darkness is always to invite people into the light.
Jesus didn’t walk down Main Street carrying a placard that said anyone was going to hell. The only thing the Lord carried in his parade was his own cross and the only person who went to hell that day was Jesus, so that I wouldn’t have to.
If we want to follow Jesus then we’re going to end up somewhere other than the parade route, yelling. It’s much more likely that we will find him with the most desperate, defeated, disillusioned and dispossessed.
And that is where he calls us. To be light, to practice love, to clothe ourselves in gentleness and kindness, to make humility the calling card of our faith.