Ephesians 4:1-13

Right off the bat in today’s passage, Paul compels his readers: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love…keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (vv. 2-3). He’s completely humble and gentle. That’s a tough one. That takes patience.

We live in a world often unkind to the humble and gentle. Humility and gentleness are seen as weaknesses and others will take advantage of them. In an organization, the humble and gentle can get trampled in a power grab. This is particularly crushing when it happens in the church. About a dozen years ago, the church where I was a member found itself embroiled in a truly ugly situation, based primarily on whether we would accept those seen as “others.” History shows us that church fights over “others” occur regularly. The others are, and continue to be, foreigners, women, LGBTQ+, BIPOC, other religions, and on and on. In our church, the pastor was steadfastly attempting to lead us to open our doors more broadly, angering some members. A small group secretly made an offer to the pastor: leave and we’ll quietly pay you a big severance; stay and we’re going to get you fired. 

In the ensuing weeks and months, humbleness and gentleness were in short supply. I include myself. A vote was taken in support of the pastor. Some members left, but the church survived and continues to thrive as an open, welcoming place. One body, one Spirit, one Lord, “…who is over all and through all and in all.” 

May it be so in all the conflicts in your spiritual community. May you be a messenger of humility and gentleness throughout those trials. Amen. 


Who in your life has been your “gentle and humble” mentor? What lessons has that person taught you?


God, strengthen me to be gentle and humble, even with those I disagree with most. Amen.

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