Not "Sort Of"
Tuesday - March 1st
Scripture to Read Today: Ephesians 4:1-10
Be completely humble and gentle;
be patient, bearing with one another in love.
When Lesli and I were first married, she started teaching 3rd grade in an elementary school the same fall I started taking seminary classes. One Sunday, just before the start of the school year, a boy and his grandmother approached Lesli at church. The grandmother said that her grandson, Craig, would be in Lesli's class. The four of us chatted for quite some time after the service.
As our conversation came to an end, Craig tilted his head, looked at Lesli, and said with a sweet boyish lisp, "Mrs. Thornton, you’re beautiful!" He then tagged on, "…sort of." Lesli and I still laugh about Craig's sweet but direct approach. Often when we share a compliment with each other, we have fun and tag on, "Sort of."
Recently, as I read Ephesians 4:1-10, I thought of Craig's "Sort of." In verse two of that passage, the Apostle Paul challenges us to "be completely humble and gentle" with each other within the Body of Christ. He doesn't add, "Sort of." We are to be totally humble and entirely gentle with one another - no exceptions.
Over the years, as I have served as a shepherd of God's sheep, I have seen brothers and sisters in Christ lack humility and gentleness in how they treat each other. In the name of truth or conviction, they rudely and arrogantly interact with other believers. It breaks my heart to see folks in God's family mistreat one another. When I have had an opportunity to address it, grown, adult Christians sound like children on the school playground. "She started it." "Well, he deserved it."
Jesus told His disciples that our love for each other, including interacting humbly and gently, would demonstrate that we were His authentic followers. Unfortunately, too many of us make excuses in how we interact on social media with other believers. We think nothing of being rude or self-absorbed if we believe we are in the right. God does not call us to be "sort of humble" or "sort of gentle" with each other. We are to be COMPLETELY humble and gentle with one another.
Ask God to examine how you have treated other believers in the last few weeks, months, or years. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you pockets of arrogance or rudeness in how you have interacted with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Perhaps the Lord will reveal specific people to whom you should apologize. Maybe it was an email, a phone call, a conversation, a text message, or a social media comment. Perhaps the Lord will show you a pattern of behavior or an attitude that you need to confess to Him.
When it comes to how we as Christians treat each other, we must "be completely humble and gentle," not "sort of."