Do you always get along with everyone in your family? Do you sometimes have disagreements? How do you handle them? Some families encounter deep disputes that divide, break relationships. I know of some people who have not talked to siblings in years because of a diffence of opinion. While some families cherish time with one another, others learn to peacefully co-exist. Yet all of us would admit that relationships take effort.
In this week’s text, Paul urges the church to action. He calls for a posture of humilty, patience and love. Paul says,
(Ephesians 4:2 NIV) Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
One verb sticks out in this text. The verb anechomenoi is translated as bearing with in this verse. In other places, it is rendered as put up with or endure. Can you believe this? Paul admits that life in the church is not always friendly and enjoyable. He is suggesting that we do not always like each other, agree with one another and take pleasure in one another. Sometimes the best we can do is put up with or endure one another. While this seems less than ideal, most of us can relate.
Does this mean that we need to find ways to share our building without fighting? Should we learn to politely pass one another in the hallway with friendly words? I think Paul wants more. He continues,
(Ephesians 4:3 NIV) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
We must take it a step further. The phrase make every effort is often stated as do your best. We are challenged to do everything in our power to reconcile and maintain bonds with one another. On Sunday, we will be summoned to action in our unity. I sense that God is prompting us to move in this direction. Maybe this summer, each of us could use the relaxed church schedule to pursue stronger relationships with each other. Join us on Sunday as we explore Ephesians 4:1–6.