oneanother blog series

 

BEARING WITH ONE ANOTHER 

What are some of the ‘one-another’ commands that you enjoy? What are some of the ‘one-another’ commands that you fight and struggle with?     This blog begins with a phrase from Colossians 3:13, ‘bearing with one another’ and Ephesians 4:2, ‘bearing with one another in love.’     The Greek word for ‘bearing’ refers to: restraining oneself toward others out of mercy so that we might welcome, accept and tolerate one another.   Paul describes Christ-followers as people that restrain themselves from complaints, gossip, opinions, bitterness or anger toward others, and instead they mercifully tolerate and accept each other.   Wow!   How tough is that?  

Obviously, followers of Christ live differently from each other – different cultures, different habits and ways of thinking, different tastes and preferences, and unique personalities.   Rather than eliminating these differences or allowing them to irritate us into relational sins, we look for the diversity of God’s glory and accept the reality of strengths and weaknesses.     God’s designs the diverse body of Christ to unite by transcending our differences with Christ-imitating service and love.   My critiques and assessments give way to listening and empathy and service so that we bear with each other.

Bearing with one-another is the fruit of other characteristics          

A look at Colossians 3:12-13, reveals when and how this ‘bearing one another’ grows into our relationships.   We read, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing one another….”.   The lifestyle of ‘bearing one another’ flows out of other relational behaviors, namely, the fruit of ‘compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.   The logic seems obvious.   If I wear some measure of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience toward another person, this decreases the amount of complaining and coldness I show in that relationship, and increases my warmth and the ways I love and serve them.

The five characteristics from Colossians 3:12 that produce ‘bearing one another’, beautify our relationships.   Since God created each of us uniquely, we anticipate the ways we show these qualities to each other differs.   Bearing with one another includes giving each other freedom to express Christ’s character through our person without holding others to our favorite expressions.   To help us reflect on these characteristics and our life, ponder these questions:

  • Compassion:   Am I compassionate toward others at Grace?     Do I realize we all possess weakness, and therefore strive to show others the compassion God shows me with my weaknesses?       Do I seek to understand others and their struggle rather than assess and critique?
  • Kindness: Am I kind to others in my conversations and thoughts toward them?
  • Humility & Meekness: Do I seek to understand others’ interests, preferences, & needs before I expect them to understand mine?   Do I place others’ interests and needs before mine?   Do I empathize with them before I analyze them?   Do I realize all the ‘good’ I might possess comes from God’s grace, and therefore I strive not to compare with others or place myself above or below them?     Do I abandon ‘rights’ and ‘privileges’ so that I might serve others in ways they do not deserve?
  • Patience: Am I calm and relaxed and peaceful with others?     Am I agitated, grumpy or cold towards others at Grace?

Any serious reflection on those questions, leaves us short and confessing our sin.   Thankfully, God eagerly receives our confession and grants forgiveness.

One Secret to Bearing one-another comes from embracing who we are in Christ

One Secret to Bearing one-another comes from embracing who we are in Christ

The secret and strength to put on these characteristics comes from belonging to Christ.   Paul says to put on, ‘as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved’.   God chose us and gave us the righteousness of Christ out of His deep faithful love.   My holiness fails me, evidenced by my behavior in relationships.   Thankfully, God gives me the holiness of Christ and my eternal hope rests with Jesus.   Seeing ourselves as God does: (unworthy yet chosen, holy, and beloved because of Jesus), grows satisfaction with Christ’s love.   My satisfaction with Christ, frees me to reflect His love toward others, and to ‘bear one another’ in the family of Grace.

As you pray for Grace, pray that God satisfies us with His love and that we see the beauty of God calling us: ‘chosen, holy, and beloved’.     As God answers this prayer, He will strengthen us to wear the clothes of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience in our relationships with one another.   Wearing these clothes results in us ‘bearing with one another’, making Grace contagious to others.     Are we ready to grow in our ‘bearing with one another?