The mindset of “When the going gets tough, I get gone” is pervasive in our marriages, family relationships, congregations, and places of employment. As our society continues to grow short with longsuffering, God continues to call His people to bear with one another (Ephesians 4:1-3).
In Ephesians 4, Christians are instructed to walk worthy of our calling. Paul exhorts us to see to it that our Christian experience, the Christian life we live, weighs as much as the profession of Christianity which we make. Don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk.
Bearing with one another in love part of what it means to walk worthy. Bearing with one another means making allowance for the faults and failures of others, or differing personalities, abilities, and temperaments. It is not a question of maintaining a façade of courtesy while inwardly seething with resentment. It is showing genuine love to those who irritate, disturb, or embarrass us.
Bearing with one another is the practical expression of patience. When we bear with one another’s weaknesses and failures in the midst of tensions and conflicts, we show a lifestyle that is consistent with our divine calling.
The largest part of this work for unity does not happen between you and me. It occurs within each one of us. Patience, forbearance, and forgiveness are not automatic actions that follow conversion to Christ. They are deliberate acts of the will when we yield our will to the Holy Spirit.
And don’t think that you are the only one who has to bear with others. Others have to bear with you. Our individual attitudes help to determine the ease or difficulty in which people are able to bear with us. How easy is it for others to bear with you?
As you go throughout this year, there will be opportunities for you to practice bearing with others. Don’t be so quick to cut people off. Remember that God bears with you, so you should imitate Him and bear with others. You will not be able to bear with others without forgiving others. How are we to forgive? Just as the Lord forgave us (Colossians 3:13).
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.