“ I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love.”
(Ephesians 4:2)

Paul wrote the epistles to the Ephesians during the time he was in prison in Rome. During Paul’s time in Rome he was imprisoned not once but twice, and at the end of the second occurrence he was martyred.

Paul for a long time had not lived what would be considered an easy life after his conversion. I think some times we tend to romanticize the life of the Apostles. We somehow confuse the life they lived because of their proximity to Jesus. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The apostles lead the same life the Jesus lived during his earthly ministry ( save for the passion and various other divine aspects). Basically the lives of homeless nomadic people who were not particularly liked in the places they visited or preached in.

Paul, who was about the business of converting souls and spreading the Gospel news, was imprisoned in Rome and his captives and persecutors were not kind if anything they were abusive and hateful, distrustful, hateful of him and this new religion that he was busy trying to spread about. He did not belong in polite Roman society, and did not think that Caesar was a god to be worshiped and since he basically had no home, no income, no assets to speak of he was of little use to them as a whole because he had nothing to contribute in their view.

Does this in any way sound familiar ?

Consider for a moment that in the world climate the view of Christians as a whole has suffered, and
the world even in countries and regions where the church has been deeply embedded for centuries have people who no longer believe in God, or who despise any sort of faith life, whether its their own or others. There are places in the world where people who are of different faiths are persecuting
Christians for the faith that they profess and love. Has history really changed ? No, not really.

Like some, we have people who profess one thing however, what they do in the lives is totally different. That also has not changed.

Just as in Jesus time we have those who would try to persecute us, and make it legal to do so.
We have those who would try to separate parts of our lives from other parts in order to extricate the influence of God from within the gates of our hearts and lives, both public and private.

The times have not changed at all, only the people in the story have changed.

Paul, along with the other disciples, had to endure all manner of hatred, violence, persecution not to mention the human experience of living homeless in the world.

Remember that Paul, although an Apostle, was very much just a human. He has the same feelings, the same issues, the same challenges as all of the other people of his time. In the view of the world, he had gone from the very peak of his professional life, a pharisee , and one favored by society , to the very bottom of society. He went from worldly riches, to worldly poverty.

“He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness ” (Hebrews 5:2)

In our daily lives, we also face challenges to our efforts towards gentleness. Those usually occur in the course of encounters with other people. When we encounter the basic human-ness that is the nasty hectic, feral, emotional, psychological, socialistic, sorts of failings not only in others, but in ourselves.

We fail at gentleness in the same breath, if you will, that we fail in forgiveness. They are in a way like box cars. the failure at gentless comes..
then the failure in forgiveness follows.

We as brothers and sisters, suffer from our humanity, and all our faults that come along with them. Lets say that we are at work and we engage
or get engaged in a conversation which becomes emotionally charged. It hits some nerve in one or the other. One person gets upset.. then another gets upset. Both feeling that they are in the right.

Maybe once we are out of the heat of the moment, we realize, that we were not as gentle with the other person as we could have been. We sit with God and we pray about it.. and resolved to do better at being gentle and loving and kind.

The next thing you know, another encounter, and maybe you know it in the moment, or maybe even after the next encounter now you not only feel bad that you were maybe not as gentle as you could have been in the moment, but on top of that you FAILED … AGAIN ! It’s frustrating and now you feel twice as bad since you are aware of it and your human failings are sitting there staring you in the face.

Our walk through faith and ALL the failings could be very disheartening, IF it were not for the fact that these times when we are aware of those failings and we try , and we work on our spiritual lives and strain and struggle through all these emotional traumas, are exactly the times when
we can rejoice ! We can rejoice in our trails and sufferings because these are exactly the times that God is close, and the spirit is working with us.

The mere fact that we realize that we failed means that God also knows and loves us and loves the fact that we struggle so with our spiritual lives. We struggle because we love Him. Because we want to be closer to God, because we want what ever is His will for us.

God knows…and loves you for the struggles you carry. So, carry your struggle forward. Work on the failings you have. Do not be disheartened when you fail, just acknowledge them, make amends where you can, and understand that some struggles will be with you for life… and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Failure is only a bad thing if we know we have failed, and do nothing about it.

“Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near”
(Philippians 4:5)

Onward… upward… Homeward !

May God give you the gift of His peace !


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