Paul mailed a letter from prison to his friends in Ephesus, which is situated in modern day Turkey. Previously, he had been arrested for no other reason than publicly expressing his beliefs. He could have turned bitter over unfair treatment. Instead, the first thing Paul wrote in his letter was this [Ephesus 4:2]:
“Be completely humble and gentle;”
This morning as I was browsing the Internet, I listened to a song of Lori McKenna’s. Her song lyrics caught my attention, one phrase in particular:
“Bitterness keeps you from flying, always be humble and kind.”* [*Source: Lori McKenna’s song “Humble & Kind,” off her 2016 album, “The Bird & The Rifle”]
Nobody likes a bitter person. Bitterness is rooted in traumatic events that were not properly addressed. God knows we go through some rough patches sometimes. Dealing with our emotions as we are processing loss should be our number one priority. A broken heart cannot be unbroken, but it can be healed if we admit to our brokenness. A hardened heart on the other hand will continue to be stuck in trauma with little chance to move on.
We hate being broken and bruised. It is humbling to admit failure. And yet, buried in our humility lies a kernel of hope: our weakness of today pours into our strength of tomorrow. Bad experiences can promote understanding, and our newfound empathy will turn us into better neighbors.
If we have looked into Paul’s story, then we know that gentleness was not his strong suit, but his life turned around when he met Jesus; Paul allowed Jesus access to his heart, and that profoundly changed him.
We won’t be the same if we allow Jesus access to our hearts. Jesus is humility and kindness impersonated, and we can learn from Him. There is a lot of pain out there, and I believe this world hurts a great deal less with a good dose of humility and gentleness.