How’s Your “Epieikes”?

3d business people greet

Here are some sound bytes from an audio message I gave years ago based on a certain Greek word in the New Testament that summarizes how Christians should act in society. I’m reintroducing it because I think this quality is more necessary today than ever.

Please give it a listen and see if the Spirit doesn’t nudge you toward this Christlike quality.

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Scholars say that epieikes means:

to be sweetly reasonable… human with humans… not extreme… patient and not picky… not unduly rigid… not exactingly just… willing to meet someone half way… a person that knows when to relax justice and introduce mercy… makes allowances so that justice does not injure… taking human weakness into account…

After having to put his old dog down, one little boy had an epiphany about why animals don’t live as long as humans. “Everybody is born so that they can learn how to live a good life,” he said, “like loving everybody and being nice. Animals already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

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A few places epieikes is found in the Bible:

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:5

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,   1 Timothy 3:1-2

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. Titus 3:1-2

By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” when away! 2 Corinthians 10:1

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An epieikes person is the safest person to be with on your worst day!

“If you had any idea what the Scripture meant – ‘I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual’ – you wouldn’t be nitpicking like this.” (Matthew 12 in The Message Bible)

“Lord make the bad people good and the good people nice!”

“Lord, when we are wrong, make us willing to change. And when we are right, make us easy to live with.” Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the US Senate.

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How’s your “epieikes”?

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