2 Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, 3 and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together.
My favorite book of the bible shifts often. Lately, I feel like its been Ephesians.
When Paul the Apostle was in prison, writing this letter to the Ephesian people – he seemed to really take great care with the words he chose. Here, he tells them (us) to act “with all humility, gentleness, and patience.” These three words are by no means synonymous, yet when I give it any thought – they are all deeply interwoven. Can patience exist without a sense of gentleness for the self or other involved? Are we capable of gentleness without the self-awareness of humility? When we lower ourselves into humility, do we not also accept some patience too? Can we be one, but not the other?
I’m not so sure we can, or if we should even try to have one without the other. Let’s use the COVID-19 pandemic as a universal experiment in patience. I’m sure many of us experienced impatience of some sort over the past year and a half: impatience with other household members, with friends or family who were making different decisions than you, with guidelines, with ever-changing schedules and plans, and so on. I’ll speak for myself when I say there were many times that I have had to consciously remind myself to be patient, and what did that look like? Humbling myself down to remember how my actions affect those around me. My choices and my words do not live in a silo. But also, gentleness for myself and for those around me who are under stress, anxiety, fear, grief, anger, you name it.
I’ll contend that patience without humility and gentleness is not patience at all.
By Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
Take a breath. Now take a slower breath. Where are you holding stress? Can you release it? Where have you experienced patience lately? Did you extend it or did someone else? How did it affect and improve the situation?
Prayer: Humble God, Gentle God, Patient God, gift us with the awareness to see how interconnected these feelings are and help us to grow in each. Amen.