“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love” (Ephesians 4:2).
Our generation is really confused about the concept of love. According to our culture, romantic love is known by a combination of fuzzy feelings and physical pleasure, and brotherly love is known by unconditional acceptance. In any relationship, whether romantic or platonic, the world tells us to be our own first priority, looking out first and foremost for ourselves.
But this is not the sentiment that we see presented in this passage from Ephesians.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he exhorts the Ephesians to love one another in a manner worthy of the Lord. First, Paul reminds us to love with humility. Humble love is willing to labor with no reward in sight. One who loves humbly loves selflessly and with other people at the center. Humility leads to gentleness, as it tears down our sense of pride and causes us to be sensitive to other’s needs. As we grow in gentleness, we grow in patience, as we develop the habit of bending our needs to those of others.
Lastly, Paul tells the Ephesians to make allowances for one another’s faults out of love. Some use this passage to justify universal acceptance. “If you really love somebody,” they say, “you will accept them for who they are. “We are not called to condemn and judge fellow believers in the name of the Lord, but notice how in this passage, Paul still calls their faults faults. Loving another person does not mean that you simply dismiss that person’s faults, but rather that you allow grace for that person while encouraging him to grow in holiness.
These are the characteristics with which Christ loves us. He gives us a perfect example of perfect love. Do you long to know Him and reflect His love to others?
- How do we develop the kind of love that “makes allowances” for each other’s faults?
- Who in my life am I neglecting to love in this way?
Written by Lara Tovmassian. Artwork by Jasmine Chan