The Refreshing Quality of Reasonableness
1 Reasonableness is certainly a most desirable quality. It is hard to work with someone who is unreasonable, stubborn, demanding, authoritative and critical. (Ezek. 34:4) But there is something truly refreshing about one who is considerate, understanding and does not insist on the letter of the law. Little wonder, then, that the Scriptures encourage all of us, not just elders, to manifest reasonableness.—Phil. 4:5; Titus 3:1, 2; Jas. 3:17.
2 What will help us to be reasonable with our brothers? We should keep in mind that the Christian congregation is composed of people having different backgrounds, customs and ways of life. Regardless of their weaknesses, imperfections and the extent of their spiritual progress, they want to do God’s will. Our recognizing this will help us to be understanding and to give due consideration to their circumstances.
3 Brothers who are “reaching out” for the fine work of oversight in the Christian congregation should especially be concerned about setting an example in displaying fairness, moderation and forbearance, looking humanely and reasonably at their brothers’ abilities, problems and circumstances. (1 Tim. 3:1, 3) The reasonable person looks for the good in his brothers, seeking to commend and encourage. He does not quickly condemn others for minor failings. Nor does he make big issues over trifles and give people the impression that he is hard to please, that nothing really suits him. (Compare 1 Corinthians 9:12, 18-23; 1 Peter 2:18.) While encouraging others to progress, he recognizes that they have limitations, likes and dislikes.
4 When we consider the responsibilities of elders, we can see why reasonableness is one of the qualifications for elders. It is refreshing to the whole congregation. In handling matters as a judicial committee, reasonable elders take the individual into consideration. A major concern is to give Scriptural help designed to meet his needs so that he may recover from spiritual weakness. Manifesting reasonableness, the elders do not act like judges handing down verdicts without any consideration of mercy. Also, at other times, when giving counsel or distributing responsibilities in the congregation, they do not ignore circumstances and a person’s limitations. Basing their counsel on God’s Word, they appeal to their brothers’ love of right. They are also willing to listen to suggestions and to apply counsel that is given to them.
5 Truly, when the whole congregation strives to display reasonableness, this helps to make our service to God, not a burden, but a delight. (Matt. 11:28-30) May all of us continue to work hard in developing to a greater degree that refreshing quality of reasonableness.