“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;” – Philippians 4:5 ESV
Paul writes in his letter to the Church at Philippi, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;” (Phil. 4:5 ESV). Depending on what version you read the word reasonableness is also translated as considerate, gentleness, moderation. This word is embodied through the life of Christ and especially in the event when He showed gentleness to the woman who was taken in adultery in a set-up (John 7:53-8:11). Jesus shows us what holy gentleness looks like.
I don’t think it would be a stretch for everyone to agree that tensions have been high for a while in our society, probably the whole world. Much of the tension has been focused on debates and opinions of what is true over a variety of issues. I must admit that during this season I have come to be thankful for the tension because it challenged me in how I should communicate with others when opinions are controversial. I want to be honest about my failures in this process as well. There is a price that comes with knowing the truth.
In the Christian faith we believe in objective truth. In our society there is a deep longing for the facts which is amazing, but operating principles of the Kingdom of Heaven are hard to be understood as truth when they are difficult to be presented with proof that many so desperately wish for. There can be great power and proof of the truthfulness of the Gospel when it can be witnessed lived out in the lives of Christians.
This is the beauty of our life. God can be seen through an appropriate, gentle, reasonable, example in our lives. What if because of the tension and the difficulty of such polarizing conversations my focus was compromised from being gentle to being right? I am passionate for people to know the truth, I believe in objective truth, I believe the truth sets us free (John 8:32, John 17:17). I’ve learned recently though that communicating for the truth to be known, without a spirit of gentleness and consideration, can be a destructive work that tears down instead of builds up.
Paul also reminds believers that the Lord is at hand, which means He is coming soon. This should make it all the more important and easy for believers to rejoice in Him and be gentle to all. We know that when He returns He will be the one to settle every wrong, so let us build others up in gentleness so that they may receive Him and know Him before it’s too late. I’m convicted in my desire to destroy the lies that may hold people captive, that my zeal has been out of balance with appropriate gentleness and wisdom. I see God’s heart in this and I repent, desiring to walk in gentleness like Christ. We have an open door to build people up in the truth with a pure and gentle heart. Now is the time for us to be a living demonstration of Christ to the world.
How have you engaged the tension or difficult discussions this season?
Do you believe the Lord can use us to build people up with a pure heart?
Are there any people we could reconcile with?
By Mike Bailey | Washington USA