Bible Society of South Africa

Grace: Powerful words – 22 November 2022

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

2Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another.

Ephesians 4:2GNBOpen in Bible reader

A mother reported on social media that her children were fighting over an invisible bicycle that the 7-year-old wouldn’t share. She pointed out to her 3-year-old that she could ride her own invisible bicycle and didn’t need her sister’s, at which point she lay down and sobbed, “But I only want hers.”

This story highlights the complexity of human nature from an early age, showing the powerful elements of self-interest and obstinacy at play in altercations which begin in the family and spill over into other parts of life; if they remain unchecked, these lead to much greater problems than fighting over invisible bikes. History proves this, and the Church wasn’t exempt.

Back in his day, King Solomon already gave wise advice for such situations: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1) which is very effective but not easy in heated situations because it requires a humble spirit of self-control to show this grace to someone who may be shouting or insulting you.

By holding back our own opinion, whether it’s right or wrong, and allowing the other person space to have their say, and not retaliate even if it’s hurtful, by grace alone can we find a quiet response that will bring a new spirit into the situation.

Solomon also says, “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride” (Ecclesiastes 7:8) highlighting the need to be persevere in issues patiently to resolve them, as it often takes time to understand where the other person is coming from and what difficulties may have led them to their position.

Paul encourages the Colossians, “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, (to) clothe (them)selves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12) and teaches the Galatians, who had had so many disputes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

How hard this is when we try on our own; but when we truly want to serve our Lord we remember, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

The following song that we sang many times in our Youth Group with warm hearts and glowing faces, hopeful that we would make a difference in the world through the love we shared in Jesus Christ our Lord, encourages us. It is simple, but one that still holds today for Believers:

“We are one in the Spirit; we are one in the Lord,
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored;
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

Prayer: Lord, may the fruit of your Spirit be evident in us through your love at work in us that we may be united by your grace. Amen

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