“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you have a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
Faithfulness, steadfastness, loyalty don’t shine in comfort and plenty. These are virtues that shine most brightly and is most beautiful in conflict, affliction, scarcity, and uncertainty.
Before I go on I want to make clear that there is an exception to this rule. When one is dealing with heresy, toxic and abusive behavior, this rule does not apply. When you are in an abusive situation, get out. When there is toxic behavior, call it out. Don’t tolerate it. When there is heresy, do as Paul commands, “Hand him over to Satan.”
The word for ‘bear’ in the Greek means to hold up, bear with. It means to endure, have patience with, suffer, and persist.
Not only does ‘bear’ mean those things, it is written in the present participle. This means that bearing with one another is a never ending, on-going act. The best way to translate that would be to say something like, “Keep on bearing with one another…”
Not only are we called to keep on bearing with one another, but we are called to forgive. The Greek for ‘forgive’ is also written in the present participle.
The trait of disciples and Christ-followers in the church is the refusal to quit on each other. It is an on-going, never ending bearing with one another, forgiving each other along the way. That’s the way of the church.
And when the church demonstrates that in the midst of conflict, affliction, scarcity, and uncertainty, the love and the grace of Jesus shines brightly. The church is truly beautiful.
Let’s be a beautiful church!