The Fabric of Forbearance

The Fabric of Forbearance

Words of Faith 11-8-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Colossians 3

[13] Bear with each other…

 

       Among the pieces of new clothing that the Lord—the Heavenly Haberdasher—gives us for our new life, there is forbearance or bearing with one another.  The word used here has a dual meaning.  It means first to lean against but also to put up with.  It is important to put on both.

 

       Fundamental to the image of forbearance is the fact that we need one another.  We lean on one another.  It is because we need one another that put up with one another.  On one occasion, we will put up with a brother in Christ, but on another occasion,  he will put up with us. 

       Now don’t misunderstand.  Forbearance is not “tolerance” toward habitual or defiant sin.  Paul was clear on many occasions that un-confessed sin in unrepentant believers must be dealt with quite differently (1 Cor. 5:1).  Jesus instructed us to go to a person who has sinned against the Body or against us and seek to correct defiant behavior (Matt. 18).

       Forbearance is quite different.  It is about weaknesses, failures, bad habits, or irritating behavior.  It is about the fact that we are all flawed in some way.  We are to hold back or refrain from criticism and to bear with or control oneself rather than going about pointing to the weaknesses of others.  The NLT renders this— "make allowance for each other's faults."  At one time or another, every one of us is guilty of some weakness, unattractive behavior, failure, or neglect. So we bear with one another, knowing that others will also bear with us as we grow toward the image of Christ.

      You see, there is no escaping our flawed nature.  God continues to work on us, but at one time or another, everyone will need those around us to “cut us some slack” or “give us a break."  We could pick out the weaknesses of those around us, but that is not what the Word of Christ tells us to do.  We are to bear with one another—put up with and bear with the weaknesses and flaws of other believers.

       So put on the clothing of forbearance. We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves (Rom. 15:1).  Carry each other's burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2).  Live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love (Eph. 4:1-2).

      How is your forbearance?  Are you prone to pick out the faults of others?  Are you quick to notice the failures in people?  Are you demanding?  Perfectionistic?  Perhaps it is time to put on some new clothes.  The fabric of forbearance has a fantastic weave to it, and we may need its covering from the heart of others before we know it.

 

       Father God, take away any critical spirit within me.  Clothe me with the fabric of forbearance.  Teach me to bear with others in the same way that You bear with me.  Give me the patience to recognize Your continued work in those around me.  Give others the grace to bear with me in my shortcomings and faults.  In Jesus’ Name.

 

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