Today’s devotion is an excerpt from a Bible Study Series taught at Fellowship Baptist Church, titled “Biblical Building Blocks for Strengthening Relationships.”
Biblical Building Block #14 Forbearing One Another (Ephesians 4:2) – PART 1
Ephesians 4:2, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
We all have people in our lives with whom we have difficulty getting along; therefore, we need to be patient with one another. We are to be longsuffering, or patient, with one another. The word longsuffering means "long-tempered, long-fused" or "taking a long time to boil." We often refer to lack of patience as having a "short fuse." In other words, we get upset with people quickly. However, when we are patient, we have a long fuse. That's a command—not a suggestion. To obey it, we must do two things. Being patient requires being humble and gentle. Simply put, it is being like Jesus, Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
1. Be humble.
Lowliness means not to be high-minded and arrogant. In other words, we should have modest opinions of ourselves. So, we must deal with our pride, which causes us to think we are always right and everyone else is wrong. If we are humble, we put the desires, needs, and opinions of others ahead of our own.
2. Be gentle.
Humility always produces meekness, or gentleness. The word meekness means "power or strength under control". It refers to a domesticated animal, such as a horse, that still has its strength but is under control. A meek, or gentle, person is very well-mannered. Have you ever heard someone say, "He is a real gentleman"? That means he is respectful, courteous, and considerate, not harsh, aggressive, or rude. Being gentle requires we understand we are all different; we are each unique, or one of a kind. Even people in the same family are different. Even mature couples like different kinds of music and foods; different hobbies and like different kinds of clothes. If we are not gentle, our differences will create conflict in our relationships.
Forbearing means to hold back; to refrain; to put up with; to bear with; to endure; to control. "Forbearing one another" means a person tolerates others when they irritate them. This means putting up with someone’s faults and quirks. Forbearing one another in love means putting up with others; putting up with the things we dislike in others; or to have tolerance of one another in a spirit of love. It is the opposite act of being short tempered with others. It carries the idea of accepting the failures and flaws of others because we love them. This often involves taking the higher road by silencing our mouths and letting go of the offense or disappointment. This is the active part of patience which means continuous action--something we are to do everyday.
Forbearing one another in love also means we put up with annoying traits in other people; we make tolerances for their differences and faults. This presupposes that some people, even people we love, will at times, be burdens rather than blessings. Those whom we love dearly will sometimes be a burden you have to bear. None of us are perfect, and we all have peculiar personality traits that must be overlooked. If you are forbearing, you will not let people irritate you as much. When someone annoys us, it is only natural to dislike or resent that person. But we need to remember that most of the time crude and rude people are people who have been hurt. There's a saying: "Hurt people hurt people." We never know a person's past or hurts. When people's words or actions upset us, we should not be judgmental. When people "rub you the wrong way," remember only God knows their hearts and hurts.
Other people’s habits, personalities, dispositions, appearance, manners, words, and character can be very irritating. We should treat others with forbearance. We, as Christians, should bear with others in what is disagreeable to us. We need to recognize that being different doesn’t necessarily mean being wrong. Any person can be looked at and have their flaws and weaknesses picked out. However, we should remember that we all have flaws that others have to put up with as well. The believer is to forbear the flaws of others. He or she is to put up with and bear with the weaknesses of other believers.
Prayer, Father, I repent for allowing myself to become angry, frustrated, and unforgiving. That is wrong and I refuse to yield to selfishness any longer. No matter what has been said or done, I have no right to harbor ill will, especially when You have commanded me to forgive others as You have forgiven me. Lord, I deeply apologize. If I had been focused on You instead of myself, I would not have become upset in the first place. Help me to see this person and this situation through Your eyes. I choose to get over this offense right now. I let this drop and I refuse to think on my feelings anymore. Instead, I will seek to honor You in this matter. Holy Spirit, teach me how to love as Jesus loved me. In Jesus name, Amen
Thank you for reading PART 1 of Biblical Building Block #14 of this series. Please visit this website tomorrow for PART 2 of Biblical Building Block #14.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.