Devotion: Be humble and gentle

April 3, 2020

Devotion written by Rev. Susan Roddey, Director of Spiritual Life at Abernethy Laurels 

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2

I have a one-eyed cat with an attitude problem. Cassie is a plump little feline who is large and in charge in her mind.  We adopted her from a rescue organization about three years ago and introduced her to our dog Wilma.  Wilma is a 13 year old lab and Australian shepherd mix.  After several weeks of barks and hisses they settled down, with Cassie claiming her position as the superior queen.  She has no respect for our elderly dog.  She lurks behind a chair every morning waiting for Wilma to finish her treat and then pounces on her as she walks by.   In the evening, poor Wilma will be on the way from the kitchen to her bed in the den when Cassie casually reaches out and takes several swipes at her from the arm of the chair (ahem, I mean throne) where she is roosted.  If she understood them, Cassie would just smirk at the words of Paul quoted above.  She has no patience for such a disgusting dog.

Don’t you sometimes want to do that though – just take a swat at somebody who is driving you crazy, someone who gets on your last nerve until you feel like you are going to scream?  Goodness knows this is a time when we might be losing patience with people, being so cooped up and feeling stressed.  This is the time when we might become more critical and faultfinding of people.  With the world seeming to spin out of control we need to feel some sense of control in our own lives and in trying to feel that way, we take out our frustrations on others sometimes.

Paul writes, “Be completely humble and gentle... bearing with one another in love.”  Not so easy to do sometimes, but now more than ever it is important that we treat each other with grace.  Everyone needs encouragement right now.  To bear one another in love means to not react to each other impatiently but to speak our concerns with kindness.  It means that we don’t see ourselves as better than the other, but we seek to lift up one another with the type of love that nourishes community.  Don’t swat at the dog!  If Cassie just gave a gentle pat to Wilma, I am sure Wilma would look a lot less downtrodden, but I can’t read Ephesians to my cat and hope she understands.  We however can read these words and let them transform any bad attitude we may have on any given day. 

Prayer: O God who is so patient with us, help us to be encouragers of one another.  Amen.