“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:14).
I love the way the New Living Translation Bible translates the phrase, “bear with each other.” The NLT says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults…”
That’s it! That’s what bearing with each other means. It means that we make room for each other’s faults.
The thing is everyone will make mistakes. Everyone will do something stupid. Everyone will do something dumb because we are sinners. We are human. And, because we are sinners, we need to make allowance and make room for each other’s mistakes.
One of the phrases that has saved our marriage is: “I know you love me. I know you did not do this intentionally to hurt me. So I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt.”
Let’s break this down:
- I know you love me
- This is where we start. This is the reason why we’re married. It’s because of love. We have to be able to assume love
- I know you did not do this intentionally to hurt me
- The key word is “intentionally”
- Because we are all selfish, inwardly focused sinners we’re going to hurt one another. Most of the time, we’re going to hurt someone without even trying…without even knowing we hurt the other. We’re like that. All of us
- If someone goes around hurting people intentionally, then that’s whole different problem
- I will give you the benefit of the doubt
- Just because you’ve been hurt, doesn’t mean you ought to respond with hurt and retaliation to every offense. If you did, you would be in conflict all the time. Such relationships would never make it
- There has to be room for grace. There has to be some breathing room in all relationships where we give each other the benefit of the doubt
That’s what our Bible verse is saying. We are disciples. We are members of the church of Jesus Christ. So when someone hurts us or offends us, we will assume that they did not hurt us intentionally. Therefore, we will give each other space and practice grace so that we can forgive one another.
That’s a great way to build community. In fact, it’s the only way to build community.
I know you love me. I know you did not do this intentionally to hurt me. So I am giving you the benefit of the doubt.
Go ahead. Try it. Apply it to your relationships. Practice grace.