Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. –Ephesians 4.2-3
This is a difficult Scripture to grasp. What does this look like in the twenty first century? And where do we draw the line between not becoming a door mat and being ‘completely humble and gentle?’ The author of this passage, The Apostle Paul, was anything but ‘completely humble and gentle.’ Remember how he handled the abuses at Corinth? He writings seem to reveal that he was anything but humble, gentle, patient, unifying. Paul was divisive with his declarations of truth. He was never willing to compromise truth, but yet he demanded of the Churches he founded and led, that they should behave in this manner.
This poses the question how do I, as a broken, imperfect, individual, lead other broken, imperfect, individuals? Paul was fond of saying that in his weakness he was made strong. How in the world can I be broken and strong at the same time? I need help. I need the help of The Holy Spirit to lead, to teach, to live. I want to do better. I want to be better. But how?
Jesus went to the cross willingly. When faced with the highest political power of His day, Jesus looked at Pilate and said “My Kingdom is not of this world.” Jesus went on to say that had it been of this world, then his followers would take it by force. Jesus refused to use the conventional forces of this world to launch his Kingdom. The system killed him, as it does all of those who refuse to utilize the conventional forces of this world.
So, if I choose not to use the conventional forces of the systems of this world, what does that say about my leadership? Will it die or will it thrive? Should I embrace assertiveness? Or should I embrace servant leadership and turn it upside down?
Paul says ‘Keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.’ Peace keeps unity. I want to be someone who cultivates peace, but finding out how to accomplish that is difficult. Cultivating peace is extremely difficult in a broken world, especially among broken people. Broken. I keep coming back to that word.
When will the brokenness be healed? When will the broken be made whole?