Look in the news, or on popular Christian social media accounts and blogs, or even just just down the pew. You will find Christians who disagree on everything from politics to social issues, to the interpretation of the book of Revelation. Sincere Christians don’t agree on everything. What governs how we respond to other Christians when we don’t agree? What is our primary purpose?
Ephesians 4:1-3 implores us to:
. . . walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We are to remember that all Christians are part of one body. Despite our differences we have one Lord. What a precious gift!
We can’t endorse a false peace that tells the oppressed to be quiet in the name of unity, but we can work to preserve the unity of the Spirit by being gentle – gentle with the hurts of others; gentle to the friend at church that tells you they were crushed by the way someone you respect treated them; gentle to the single mom who feels condemned by the sermon on marriage; gentle to the friend who feels like their views on social issues are scorned by their fellow Christians; gentle to the spouse who disagrees with you on what living out faith looks like in your household. Gentle looks like saying, “I see you and your hurts, and I’m going to come along side you and bear your burden with you.” We can encourage and edify, but it’s probably most important first to empathize. Weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). Make no mistake. We can disagree sharply on important issues, but we should never let that disagreement distract us from the fact that we agree on the most important issue: that we need Jesus and He is our savior. When we are gentle, we communicate our relationship with Jesus Christ and that His mercy triumphs over judgement (James 2:13).
Gentleness does the work of the Lord in relationships in a way our own bravado cannot. Ask the Lord how you can walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness.
About the Writer:
Caroline is a wife and mom who loves Jesus. She also has a career in commercial real estate investing. God has given her a heart for encouraging other women. She and her husband, Eric, are the directors of the Fellowship Class, a young married Sunday School class, at First Baptist Dallas.