Some People (and Brethren unfortunately!) Are...
Erosive. They grate on you and wear you down. They are biting, abrasive, and abusive in speech (Col.3:8) and conduct, and often complaining, condescending and arrogate to boot!
Corrosive. They’re typically judgmentally harsh and critically acidic, and even take pleasure in creating enmity and strife that eventually rots, rusts, and consumes, Gal.5:20a. And let’s not forget,
Explosive. They’re factious, and prone to “outbursts of anger” as well as disputes and dissensions, Gal.5:20b. They’re not only seemingly always “ready for a fight,” they look for and evidently enjoy them!
Obviously, this is NOT how Jesus expects us to be or treat one another, and yet the world is full of just such people… and some congregations have more than their fair share of them too. While the world will always have such destructive people who seem to think that tearing others down somehow builds them up, purported “followers of Christ” just can’t be (or be allowed to continue to be) such people. Jesus, our supreme example, was “gentle and humble in heart”- the very antithesis of such attitudes and conduct, Matt.11:29.
So instead of erosive, corrosive, and/or explosive, let’s note and work toward developing the qualities and characteristics highlighted in Ephesians 4:
- Walking worthily of the calling, v.1. The next time you’re tempted to say something erosive or corrosive, or explode on someone, remember Whom you serve and how He felt about and treated others. Are your thoughts, attitudes, and actions worthy of Him and the “calling” to be Christ-like? Do they build up (edify) the same in others, or erode it away?
- With all humility and gentleness, v.2a. Humility is an attitude toward self that is somewhat hard to define without deprecation. I think the Holy Spirit through Paul does it best in Phil.2:3-4 as regarding others “as more important than himself” and not merely looking out for “your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Such an attitude toward self is manifested in and motivates “gentleness” toward others. How you regard self determines how you treat others. Are your attitudes and activities corrosive or soothing and healing?
- With patience, showing forbearance, v.2b. Again, attitude dictates conduct. If you are Spirit-filled and thus patient (cf. Gal.5:22), you will be forbearing (being tolerant or longsuffering) rather than explosively impatient and intolerant.
We all must choose what kind of people, and indeed what kind of Christian, we will be. None of us exempted by genetics or circumstances; we decide and thus determine our attitudes toward ourselves and others, and thus how we interact with one another. Choose wisely for God is watching, “The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil. And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned,” Matthew 12:35-37.