Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
After twenty-two years together, I sometimes wonder how my marriage to Merryn works. I’m a writer; Merryn is a statistician. I work with words; she works with numbers. I want beauty; she wants function. We come from different worlds.
Merryn arrives to appointments early; I’m occasionally late. I try new things on the menu; she orders the same. After twenty minutes at an art gallery, I’m just getting started, while Merryn is already in the cafe downstairs wondering how much longer I’ll be. We give each other many opportunities to learn patience!
We do have things in common—a shared sense of humor, a love of travel, and a common faith that helps us pray through options and compromise as needed. With this shared base, our differences even work to our advantage. Merryn has helped me learn to relax, while I’ve helped her grow in discipline. Working with our differences has made us better people.
Paul uses marriage as a metaphor for the church (Ephesians 5:21–33), and with good reason. Like marriage, church brings very different people together, requiring them to develop humility and patience and to “[bear] with one another in love” (4:2). And, as in marriage, a shared base of faith and mutual service helps a church become unified and mature (vv. 11–13).
Differences in relationships can cause great frustration—in the church and in marriage. But managed well, they can help us become more Christlike.
How have differences between you and those close to you helped you both to grow? How can differences between church members help to develop godliness?
Heavenly Father, please use our differences to help us mature.
To learn how to strengthen your marriage, visit https://odbu.org/cc010?utm_source=ODB+devotional&utm_medium=ODB+article&utm_campaign=ODB+article+August+15th&utm_id=ODB+August+15th
In Ephesians 4:2, the apostle Paul urged believers in Jesus to “be completely humble and gentle.” He spoke about gentleness in his other letters as well. He was the founding pastor of the church at Corinth (Acts 18:1–11), yet soon after he left, the believers rejected him as a true apostle. Instead of coming down hard on them, however, he appealed to them “by the humility and gentleness of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:1). In his letter to another church, Paul urged two feuding sisters to reconcile and asked that their “gentleness be evident to all” (Philippians 4:5). The Scriptures show us that we’re to be kind, gracious, respectful, and gentle to everyone.