Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love (Ephesians 4:2 NLT).
Friend to Friend
It was a big holiday. A little one had spent a lot of time in the car, traveling from one event to the next. His sleep schedule was thrown off. He was overstimulated. He had held it together until he couldn’t anymore. I remember thinking that this little guy just needed some quiet, his routine, and a nap. I wanted to scoop him up and let him know that it was going to be okay, and that he had done a really good job for a long time.
Later that same night I found myself cranky. We had driven two hours that day and would drive two hours home that night. All day I was surrounded by laughter and conversation and people. It was our third event of the week. I loved all of it, but my brain was tired. However, rather than show myself even a morsel of compassion, I just kept going.
Suzie, pull it together.
In Ephesians 4, Paul shares a principle of love with the church of Ephesus: “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love” (Ephesians 4:2 NLT).
This principle of love contains a few parts. If the church followed them, it would create an atmosphere of compassion and grace which would allow the church to thrive and grow! For many of us, we try to follow this principle with others, but fail to give the same consideration to ourselves. What if we created an atmosphere of grace and compassion for our own hearts? Rather than condemnation, compassion would create an atmosphere where we could thrive and grow.
Let’s break down this principle of love and apply it to our own heart.
- Always be humble and gentle.
When we feel we fall short in any way, we might instantly start to rebuke ourselves. Straighten up. Do better. What if we chose humility and gentleness in its place? Rather than using shame or comparison, we’d remind ourselves that we are human. We’d give ourselves a moment to take a deep breath. Rather than setting unreasonable expectations, we’d factor in the real-life, right-now circumstances, asking ourselves, “What do I need right now?”
- Be patient with each other.
To be patient is to take the time to look at the whole situation, rather than leapfrogging to a conclusion. Being patient with ourselves is taking that time and then asking God for help and insight, so we emerge stronger and wiser.
- Make allowance for each other’s faults
This might be the hardest for me. I can easily give grace to a friend or a loved one, but I don’t usually make allowance for my own faults. To make allowance for something means that we take into consideration that we are growing. God sees the broken parts. He sees the work-in-progress parts. He sees the good and strong parts. You and I are growing in faith and as humans. This isn’t excusing our faults, but it is opening them to God’s tender touch. We aren’t hiding anything. Rather, we are exposing them to mercy which helps us learn and grow.
- Because of your love
All of this is because God loved us first. He loves so deeply it’s immeasurable. While we are invited to love the world because of this love, we are also invited to treat ourselves with compassion because of that same truth.
Jesus, I find that I am compassionate to others in most cases, but I am often not compassionate with myself. I want to thrive and grow, so help me to be gentle with my own heart.
In Your Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Are you willing to treat yourself with compassion?
What is one step from Ephesians 4:2 that you can do right now?
More from the Girlfriends
When the hold of shame is released, room is created for joy that cannot be taken from you. Discover practical and spiritual ways to confront and replace shame with God’s compassion in Suzie’s book, JoyKeeper: 6 Truths that Change Everything You Thought You Knew About Joy.
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Do you love podcasts? Listen to Suzie’s daily podcast, Prayer Starters, with the KLRC podcast network. It’s a 3–4-minute dose of the Word, a bit of encouragement, and a prayer starter to begin a conversation with God, right where you are.
© 2023 by Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.
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