“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3, New English Translation).
Humans can be exasperating at times. Other people, that is, not me. I’m levelheaded, reasonable, even-tempered. Oh, and right. My view of the situation is definitely the correct one. I won’t ask if you’ve ever thought these things; but since we are all human, you probably have. We all have different personalities, and we will respond to the same situation in different ways.
When I googled the phrase “how to get along with others,” it said there were 115,000,000 results for my query. Obviously, a lot of people want to know the answer and a lot of others feel they have the answer. I also think I have the answer, but it’s not original with me. I found it in God’s Word. I suppose I could name this, “Five Easy Steps to a Happy Relationship,” but we may not find every step easy. After all, we are human.
What are these steps I found in Ephesians 4:2-3?
STEP ONE: Humility.
I cannot respond to the other person with arrogance or the feeling I am right and you are definitely wrong. I must respect this person enough to listen to their point of view and try to understand why they feel this way. I cannot act condescending or patronizing. If they respond in angry, hateful tones, I must stay calm. That leads to the next step.
STEP TWO: Gentleness
I must be gentle with their feelings. I cannot respond with harshness or irritation. My goal is to bring peace to the situation, not a fight. I need to respond in a quiet, kindly manner. I’m not trying to grind them down and prove how wrong they are. This is my friend, my coworker, my spouse or child. I want to build them up and show them they have value.
STEP THREE: Patience
The King James Version of the Bible uses the word longsuffering. Resolving a problem may take time. That’s where the “long” comes in. I don’t give up on this person.Nor can I allow myself to become impatient or resentful. Even when they don’t seem to appreciate it, I will continue to show mercy and patience .
STEP FOUR: Bearing with Love
I will act with restraint and tolerance when dealing with this person. This does not mean I will condone a sinful act, but I will respond with mercy and forgiveness toward them. Love makes this possible.
STEP FIVE: Unity
We are all in this together, whether it’s at home, at work, or at church. We need each other to survive life’s journey. Whatever our differences, whatever the conflict, whatever the misunderstandings, we must build unity. That unity—binding together for our common good—will bring peace.
Each of these five steps builds upon the one before it. They don’t work as well in reverse order. If we begin with humility, add gentleness and patience, and bear with them in love, we will reach a place where we will have unity and peace.
Remember, none of us have the power to change another. But we can change how we respond to that person. We must treat others in the same manner we wish to be treated.
Prayer: Lord, when I feel impatience and anger toward another for whatever reason, help me to desire only good for that person. Give me the strength to respond with humility, gentleness, and patience. Help me to show love and kindness even when I do not receive it in return for this is what You have done for me.