Today’s Scripture: Colossians 3:12-15
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
I think I’ve told you that one of my favorite literary characters is Harper Lee’s Atticus Finch in the novel “To Kill A Mockingbird.” You’ll remember that he told his daughter that you never really understand a person until you crawl into his skin and walk around a bit. Atticus Finch was a person who practiced forbearance.
Practicing forbearance is one way that we live our True Selves. It’s something we can practice over and over again – and each time we do, we unleash the power of Christ in us. So what exactly is forbearance?
The Bible translation above does a good job if describing it as making “allowance for each other’s faults”. Another translation puts it as “be content with second place”. Forbearance is the act of letting other people be who they are – warts and all. It gives space to people without judging them. Forbearance is the act of walking around in someone else’s skin as a way to get to know their perspective and thus give them some grace.
I must admit – forbearance is HARD. Our false selves really do not like to come in second and especially do not like to let other people have faults without judgement. But as we practice forbearance, we allow Christ who resides in us to act through us. We begin to put to death the false self and live as our true selves.
How can you practice forbearance today?
God so often we think only of ourselves and nothing about the other person. Help us to learn the art of forbearance and give people around us the space to be who they are. Help us to truly make allowances for each other’s faults.