Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love (Ephesians 4:2 NLT).
Friend to Friend
I was sitting, minding my own business, typing away on my computer. My four-year-old daughter Lucy had come behind me with her stool. She was using me as her life-size doll, combing my hair, pinning and braiding it.
Suddenly, I heard a snip!
I whipped around to see my preschool beautician holding a pair of scissors and one inch of my hair. She was frozen in place, caught hair-handed! It was plain to see she knew she had done something terribly wrong because her face registered shock and awe.
I wanted to react and scream at her, but she already looked so troubled. I said, “You feel bad about cutting my hair and you want to cry, don’t you?”
She started to sob. Well, I thought, at least she’s remorseful! Thankfully, I have a lot of hair and the damage wasn’t noticeable. I told her it was okay and that I knew she would never do that again.
It’s been eight years since that incident, and I can attest that she’s never tried to cut my hair again (although she does pluck my gray hairs without warning!).
When you spend a lot of time with the same people, whether family, friends, or co-workers, they probably won’t cut your hair, but they will step on your toes.
How do you respond when your mother criticizes your choices?
Do you get upset when your spouse sits on the couch watching television while you clean the kitchen?
What do you say to yourself when someone cuts you off while driving?
What do you do when a friend no-shows for a coffee date?
Today’s truth reminds us to be humble and gentle – always. We are to be patient (longsuffering) with each other. Longsuffering implies we patiently bear injuries without looking for revenge. It doesn’t mean we ignore the offense, but we’re not looking for ways to get back at the other person.
Small, trivial things can be forgotten. 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (NIV, emphasis added). Now this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t address problems in your relationships. But we’re supposed to make allowances for each other’s faults because of love. When someone says or does something that harms or annoys, grace should spill out.
But it’s hard to show grace when we’re getting ready to rumble!
James 4:1 addresses this issue of strife: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (NIV).
James adds in verse 6, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
The Message puts that last part this way, “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.”
As I humble myself before God, He gives me grace so I can give grace to others.
Pride and selfishness break the peace. Humility and gentleness restore it.
In our everyday life with the people we love most, we can choose to practice humility and exhibit a spirit of grace when others rub us the wrong way.
Remember my daughter Lucy, the preschool hair stylist? After our hair cutting incident, I was taking several hot rollers out of my hair. Lucy looked at me and said with great feeling, “That looks TERRIBLE! I feel sorry for you!”
As you might imagine, I didn’t get mad. I laughed instead.
Dear God, thank You for the grace You provide every day. You are so patient with me. Help me to be patient and gentle to others. When I get upset, teach me how to calm down and show grace instead. Keep me from saying hurtful words. Make me more loving like Jesus.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Is there a good example in your life of someone who is humble, gentle and patient? The next time a loved one pushes your buttons, how will you plan to respond with today’s truth in mind?
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