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
The Bible is full of good advice. While its guidance makes sense to us, we know in our hearts it is right; it requires a lot of effort to follow. For example, we know humility, gentleness, forgiveness, and love are far better than our human instincts, yet we struggle with doing what we know is right. Why is this?
The simple answer is sin. We're not proud of it but must be aware of it. Every person who has trod the earth, past, present, and future, fights this same battle. Paul probably describes this tension best, "I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate." (Romans 7:15)
Of course, God didn't leave us in this helpless state. Though challenging, it's not impossible. As forgiven people, guided by the Holy Spirit, we can rise above our human instinct of sin. We can love one another, even when we are unlovable.
Paul makes another point, to be reconciled with God, we must be reconciled with each other. In verse 4, Paul writes, "For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future." That brother or sister who has offended us, we must set aside our pride, humble ourselves, admit our wrongdoing, and forgive and ask forgiveness of the other and God. Once this is done, the healing can begin.
Father, thank you for the forgiveness we find in Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We confess we don't always do what we know is right. We have sinned against you and others. Forgive us again, and help us to be your reconciled people. May others look upon our lives and witness the humility, gentleness, forgiveness, and love that comes only from you. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.