There are times when I marvel at the patience of God. When I think of how He puts up with me and how we sometimes interact with one another. We can be adults and yet act like little children, demanding from others, what we fail to do ourselves. We expect others to understand our points of view but fail to try to understand theirs. Or, sometimes, because we do not get what we think we want, we stomp our little feet, demanding that God comply with our wishes, or else.
We want God to react on our terms, in accordance with our ability to see and understand and yet we know, or we should know, that God doesn’t work that way. God does not react according to our terms or our rules, His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. And I for one am glad of that, because quite candidly, my track record isn’t really all that great.
Have you ever stopped to really think and consider how God’s Word says that we are to treat one another? Let’s take a look. Grab a coffee, this list is actually short (abbreviated from what is available) and any emphasis provided is mine. And the thought crosses my mind, how many times do we all violate God’s guidance, how many times do we allow and foster our own desires and goals and put God’s guidance to the wayside?
Ephesians 4:32 ESV
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:29-31 ESV
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
John 15:12 ESV
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
1 JOHN 4:20-21 ESV
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
John 14:15 ESV
If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
ROMANS 12:10 ESV
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
ROMANS 15:1-2 ESV
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
1 PETER 3:8-12 ESV
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
Philippians 2:4 ESV
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Colossians 3:12-14 ESV
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
1 Timothy 5:1-2 ESV
Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.
Romans 12:18 ESV
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Philippians 2:3 ESV
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Matthew 7:3-5 ESV
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Ephesians 4:2 ESV
With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
James 1:19 ESV
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;
We love because he first loved us.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Galatians 5:26 ESV
Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Luke 17:3-4 ESV
Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.
Hebrews 12:14-15 ESV
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
Matthew 5:9 ESV
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Matthew 18:15 ESV
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. …
Titus 2:7 ESV
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,
Galatians 5:14-15 ESV
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
1 Corinthians 13:4 ESV
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There are many more Scripture verses that God has given us than this small sample I have given. But what do we do? We don’t take them to heart when we write to others, we don’t take them to heart when words come out of our mouths and we don’t consider them when others slander us or assume our intent, without verifying. Assumptions are made and ridicule is delivered. Discussion slides from the issue being discussed to assumed personal shortfalls. And what do we do? We respond, individually, from within ourselves. And therein lies the problem.