As I read this today, my attention was drawn to the first couple of verses of chapter four, where Paul talked about how believers, Christians, should walk in unity. The scripture says, “I beseech you…”
Do you understand what “beseech” means? It means to ask someone urgently and fervently to do something; to implore; to entreat. Paul was pleading with the Ephesians here.
What was he beseeching them to do? “To walk worthy of the calling with which you were called…” We are called Christians. We are carrying the name of Christ. Paul was beseeching us to be worthy of that name.
And he continued. “…with all lowliness and gentleness…” So we should be humble, not making like we’re special or better than anyone else. And we should be kind and gentle to those around us.
“…with long-suffering…” That means we should be patient. Patience is something that is often in short supply these days. We’ve become so ADD and so used to fast technology that we sometimes expect everything to be quick. But people don’t always do things quickly. We should be long-suffering with people.
“…bearing with one another in love…” And this is the one that stopped me in my tracks. I read that as meaning I should forgive my fellow Christians with the same kind of love that Jesus shows me. And the reason this one grabbed me like it did is this. I know God forgives me for my failures because of what Jesus did on the cross. Sometimes I have a hard time forgiving myself, but I know God forgives me. So by faith, I forgive myself. But…and now this is the really hard part…I don’t always forgive others in the same way. And now I’m going to get really transparent here. We’re family, right? Is it ok with you if I’m not perfect?
Ok, here goes. There is this person at my church with whom I have been angry for a very long time. I suppose the reason I’ve been angry really doesn’t matter, but I have rationalized with myself that this person did something that warranted my anger, and as far as I know, they have never made things right. So I have held this grudge.
Now what sort of condition would I be in if Jesus held a grudge against me? I can’t even entertain the thought of Jesus holding a grudge against anybody. Can you?
So, given Paul’s beseeching, and for the good of my own soul and the unity of the Body, I have decided (and yes, it is a decision, not a feeling) to forgive this person. To bear with them in love. From this point on, I will pray that God allow me to see this person through His eyes, and be mindful of the forgiveness he has given me, so that I can forgive them.
Is there someone in your life that you need to bear with in love? I encourage you to heed the Apostle Paul’s beseeching.