to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.”
Are you a nice person? I mean, do you portray these traits Paul lists in today’s verse? These are admirable traits, but I guarantee you they are not possible for long without Christ being the center of your life. Christ showed us all of these while He was here on earth. If He can live them out, we can too. We just have to allow Him to live them through us.
“To malign” means to speak evil against someone. That’s not our calling. “To be peaceable” literally means not to fight. For some of us that’s hard. “Gentle” means to be forbearing or reasonable toward others. That can be tested at times, can’t it? And “showing every consideration” has the idea that you can show restraint.
Aren’t those four traits worth instilling in your children? How many times have you had to stop your children from doing the exact opposite? Instead of not speaking evil, they are constantly tattling or trying to get their sister or brother in trouble. Flesh does not have to be taught how to be fleshly. It comes natural. Our job as Christian parents is to consistently hold that flesh accountable. We must take every opportunity to point them towards the attributes of Christ.
Will your children embrace these traits? Only if they first know Christ. Trying to “force” these behaviors on your child before they know Him may get them to follow a rule, but it won’t change their heart. Only Jesus can do that. So, is it hopeless? Of course not! But know that the heart change is not your responsibility. Your job is to keep pointing them to Jesus. Jesus is big enough to handle the rest.
Which of these four traits gives you the most trouble? Probably, for me, it’s being gentle. I often have unreasonable expectations of others and am not very forbearing. I expect too much or I want them to comply to my wishes. That’s not being Jesus. The only way I can live this out is to surrender my desires to His. I have to see the other person through His eyes. Then I can show the gentleness of Christ.
I desire to live out these traits towards others, Lord. I know that I may be the only Jesus they ever see. Help me be that to them today.