Paul is writing to the church of Corinth about how they are to conduct themselves as believers so that the ministry can not be discredited.
In 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 this is what he has to say,”3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”
I am going to pull out verse 6 specifically. You might be wondering why but we are going to get to that soon enough. If you pull out verse 6 it stands to say this, “rather as servants of God we comment ourselves in every way: in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love.”
I want to talk about these virtues for a moment. Let’s start with purity. When I think of purity my first instinct is to think of all things related to sex, sexuality, and other private matters. However I was taught this past week at Bible study that purity pertains to agendas and in this case Paul is simply saying don’t have a hidden agenda in the things that you do.
He says that we are to be understanding. I again learned something new. Understanding doesn’t have to mean letting things slide, or to be able to relate to what someone else did, but a form of understanding is to see “why” someone did or said what they did. If we take the time to figure out why something happened or why something was said then we can start to problem solve and figure out how to appropriately handle the situation.
Patience! Enough said right? No, I’m kidding. Patience in part means to bite our tongues when we want to say something we shouldn’t, not avenging a wrong doing but instead being patient to let the Lord take care of it and as always patience means remaining calm.
Kindness seems easy enough. Don’t hurt others, hold open doors, say please and thank you, help someone in need. Kindness also mean to stop in any given situation and ask yourself, what can I do? Don’t smile and look other way. Actually stop and be the body of Christ and do what he would do.
OK! Now that is done. I wanted to give a slight over view of what we are dealing with here and this is why. I think that I am pretty darn good at these things, at least when I am away from home. I do my best to help others, be patient when I don’t understand what is taking someone so long, I don’t live my life with hidden agendas. Generally I am a nice, caring, Christian woman and most seem to notice that. So here is the question…WHY IS ALL OF THIS SO DIFFICULT AT HOME AND HOW WOULD OUR LIVES BE DIFFERENT IF WE WERE THE SAME WHETHER AT HOME OR AWAY???
Paul isn’t saying to the Corinthians to be a certain way out in the town, in public. He is calling them to a life filled with these virtues. Christ is calling us to live in the same way. If you are a wife, mother, room-mate, whatever the case may be, our home is where we should want to show Christ’s love the most. If I had the same amount of patience with my children and husband that I have with the high school students I volunteer with there would be no yelling to start. If I had the kindness with my family that I have when speaking to other, I would never make my children cry because I sound “mean”. If I never had hidden agendas when trying to get them to do things, they might just be more eager to help out. Mostly, if I were as understanding with them then they wouldn’t say that I didn’t care what they were thinking or feeling. If I were the same inside of my home as I am outside of my home, my home would be more peaceful, full of love, and honestly a very fun home.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that my home is bad, or that I am a horrible mother. I am simply pointing out that my good days would FAR out number the bad if I lived like Paul was telling the Corinthians that we are supposed to.
I have a story that I think makes a great example for this topic.
My husband and I have been married for 15 years. We have an incredible relationship. I am more in love now, than I was at 16 years old. But I have a few major flaws… I am a crier and a yeller. We got into an argument/fight last week about something. It started Saturday afternoon, I was crying and yelling while Dan tried patiently to calm me down(It doesn’t usually work). We were having friends over that night that we hadn’t seen in awhile and so as they were arriving I was wiping tears and informing my husband that we needed to put our happy faces on and deal with this later. So of course that is what we did. We didn’t have to pretend for long. All was forgotten for the evening and we had a great time. We went to bed that night like usual but the next morning it started up again. I was yelling, crying, hitting the wall a couple times, really just have a big fit. It was time to leave for church but I was adamant that I was not going. Well, I volunteer with high school students and so Dan reminded me that I needed to be there for them. I still was not going. I was being as stubborn as a mule and I knew it, but I was just so upset that I didn’t want to go anywhere. Needless to say, we piled into the mini van and headed for church. I was there, but that didn’t mean that I had to go in. So I didn’t. I sat outside on a bench and just sat. Dan ended up coming out to where I was and tried to persuade me to go inside with the students. I wouldn’t have it so he said that we were going to talk and make things right. I thought he was crazy, but I was more worried about crying or making a scene in front of people than anything else, so we talked. It was AMAZING! No yelling, no ugly crying, not pouting, not hitting walls, just simply talking. We both said what we needed to say, understood where the other was coming from, hugged and went our separate ways into youth groups.
WOW! Why couldn’t I just have done that at home? How simple it was to stay calm, cool and collected when I thought others might see me. Why is it that we are ok to act poorly in front of those we love but try to be our best in front of friends or even strangers? Yes I know all the answers like: they already love us, we are comfortable to be ourselves, we have to let our feelings out sometime. These are excuses I tell myself when I am in a mood, but shouldn’t I want my family to have my best? Shouldn’t I want my family to see Jesus in me? Shouldn’t I want them to be the ones that are receiving my love, in all forms?
I never knew that I could talk things out without losing my cool. I was wonderful. I now know that next time Dan and I don’t agree on something, we need to go to a public place to work it out! Hahaha, just kidding. I do know however, that I am capable of being pure, understanding, patient, and kind all while being a little upset too.
This study was eye opening for me as a mother and a wife. It was opening for me as a Christian mother and wife. I encourage you to look inside yourself. Which virtue is it that you may need to work on? Do you act differently in certain places with certain people? If so what can you do to change that? I encourage you to pray for strength and guidance as we navigate a life that is full of sin. I know for myself I am praying for all 4 of these virtues to be elevated in my home life. I know that I can’t do it alone, but at the end of 2 Corinthians 6:6 it says,” in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love”. We as believers are given the gift of the Holy Spirit and sincere love, which only comes from Christ. We are not alone, we don’t have to do it alone. We just need to be conscious of it and pray that God would step in and help us be what we can’t be alone.
My prayer for you is this:
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you tonight in amazement of your plan. You knew so long ago the words that we would need to hear today. Your plan is that of purity, understanding, patience and kindness. Please send your Holy Spirit to help guide me in these things. I pray that we would be who we are outside of our homes, inside our homes. Please help us to love our families and show them your love through us. I know that you are here, and that you hear me. Thank you for all that you are and all that you do. Amen