To share words of encouragement, here is your Southern Cancer Center Friday “Bread Bite”, brought to you by Pastor Chad Price from Forest Hill Church of God in Mobile, AL.
“With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially to those who may try your patience” Ephesians 4:2.
Gentleness- The word brings to mind the image of a mother cradling her child, the image of someone listening to the laments of a friend. However, here in this scripture, we are compelled to offer gentleness to those who are getting on our nerves. To the one who simply will not listen to reason. Or maybe the neighbor who feels differently about current events or the state of our world.
It says in Proverbs 15:1 that “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (NIV). Immediately I think of social media and the current climate our country is in, fighting and bickering with each other under posts made on walls or through twitter rants. Truthfully, I tend to shy away from entering into debate on social media because, let’s face it, no battle was ever fought and won on there. Have you ever convinced anyone or have you yourself been convinced to change your mind on a particular topic through social media? No, probably not. In most cases, a harsh answer just continues to beget harshness. Just as Proverbs says.
Generous Love- This one is especially hard when you’re dealing with someone who you may think doesn’t particularly deserve it. It’s so easy to love those who are lovable. It’s easy to have empathy for someone who thinks, acts and lives the same way we do. It’s another entirely to show generous love to someone who doesn’t deserve it or who may “try your patience”, as the scripture above states.
The beauty of the Lord is that even though we didn’t deserve it, He showed us the most generous love ever known. It was an all-giving, all-forgiving love. While we were still wretched it was displayed for us and for the whole world. We were not expected to “get our act together” before the love was given. In all things, we are to reflect our Creator. Which means that even when it doesn’t make sense, we are to offer grace; always demonstrate gentleness and generous love. In no way is it easy, but it’s worth it.
Demonstrate patience with those who are brash and lash out in hurt and anger. Fear creeps into the hearts and minds of mankind and when that happens humanity tends to lose its minds. As the saying goes though, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” The encouragement found in this verse excludes no one. It says ESPECIALLY those who try your patience. Continue to be the light in a dark and hopeless world. They may not know it, but they need it. And you do too.