Bear With, Be Kind and Compassionate Toward, One Another
It just makes sense that how we treat “one another,” lovingly or unlovingly, reveals how we are walking with Christ as His disciples and His Church. So it follows that all the “one anothers” of Christian living and relationships come from Christ and in the letters to the churches and believers…and to us today as well.
Paul shares most of these “one anothers” and so we continue in His letter to the Ephesian church where he gives us a positive command but one that’s often difficult to follow through. As a matter of fact, as with all of these, the only way we can consistently follow through in love is by the power of The Holy Spirit. In
Ephesians 4:2 he encourages (and commands) us to “…Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
In the King James Version it is said as follows, “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;” If we’re honest with ourselves this is another “OUCH!” Let me go one step further as in the New Living Translation where it states, “make allowances for each other’s faults.” Yet another translation uses the word “tolerance.” This is not the tolerance of this age where you must agree with others or you’re not “tolerant.” This is true tolerance where we continue to be patient and bear with one another in love even when we disagree. OUCH again!
In my flesh I don’t care for the words “lowliness, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing or making allowances.” I can be patient and bear with others for a little while (I know that’s a contradiction but that’s how we often apply these words and commands in Scripture) but in my flesh “enough is enough.” It’s time to get with it and move on people.
As with every “one another,” in order for us to truly walk these out in our lives as Christ’s disciples and together as His Family, we must recognize and surrender to The Holy Spirit or our flesh will cut short any patience, longsuffering or forbearing with others. And we must follow through on these in order to be more like Christ and show the world and culture His Love.
When you claim to have patience and bear with others, how long does it usually last? Are you relying on your own flesh (maybe because in comparison with others you seem much more patient)…or are you relying on The Holy Spirit to give you grace and strength to “be patient and bear with one another in love?”
Paul continues to the believers in Ephesus with more powerful “one anothers”. We find a couple of them in Ephesians 4:32 (one today and another next week) where he commands them to “Be kind and compassionate to one another…”
If you’ve followed L&L very long you know that the context of the Jewish culture in which the Bible was predominantly written, these words were given not just as advice or suggestions (as we tend to take them today, unfortunately). They were given and received as commands that were to be followed if you truly loved The Lord and others. They were totally about our love for Him and others rather than whether or not those who received them agreed with them and/or were comfortable following through.
We need to take seriously, even when it costs us, what each of these “one anothers” means and be just as serious about following through and living them out with others. It’s usually easy to be kind and compassionate to those who offer the same to you. However, we can often take those closest to us…spouse, children, family, church family…for granted and fail to follow through with kindness and compassion to them.
It is usually easiest to treat those in the middle (superficial relationships that are rooted in momentary conversations and times together) while failing to build deeper relationships and/or taking advantage of the closer relationships we do have.
On the other end of the spectrum, how are you doing in offering kindness and compassion to those who don’t treat you in kind? Jesus modeled and taught that we are to love all of our fellow human beings…from our spouse and family to those who can, nor will ever, repay us…even to our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). While this “one another” is certainly first and foremost to believers and how we treat other believers and those closest to us. It then also moves beyond to fulfill all the law of love as we are kind and compassionate as Christ was, even to our enemies.
Who do you need to show kindness and compassion to today?
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – What does it mean to “bear with one another?” Do you give margin for others knowing that you need it at times as well? Is Your kindness and compassion only for those who show you the same?
Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)
- Spend time with Him in His Word and prayer daily – read and study the Scriptures in this post as a way to start.
- Ask The Holy Spirit to teach you.
- I what ways can you bear with or make allowances for others as part of your spiritual growth in Christ?
- Find at least one person that you struggle with and begin today to treat them with kindness and compassion in word and deed.
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