Bearing With One Another
Bearing With One Another
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
Anyone who grew up with siblings knows those relationships can be complicated. I remember growing up, my brother and I would fight like cats and dogs – we drove our mother crazy most days. And still, every night, I would get out of my bed at some point to sneak into his room and sleep in the bottom bunk of his bunk bed. He never kicked me out, not once, no matter how old we got. Even through our cat-and-dog years when the relationship was tumultuous at best, this let me know that he would always have my back.
Now as adults, I sometimes wonder if he was raised by the same parents I was. As we have grown up, our ideals have grown further and further apart. He is traditional, opinionated, and self-focused where I am open-minded, embracing, and altruistic. While my brother’s health issues – a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis a few years ago and more recently, thyroid cancer – have contributed to our divide, ultimately our differences just make it difficult to find common ground.
God, thank you for Your example of forgiveness so that we may have a model to abide by. You knew that we would have grievances with one another in this life, and You encourage us to love one another despite them, because You did not call us to walk this life alone.
Luckily, God doesn’t call us to only love those who are exactly like us. As He instructs in Colossians 3:13, we are told to “bear with each other.” This particular verb, to bear, is important. To bear: to carry the weight of; to endure. God knew that managing our earthly relationships would be heavy, particularly the family relationships that we don’t get to choose. He calls us to relate to other people using humility and patience. We can’t always know the weight that others carry. We won’t always agree with those we care about. But we can always approach the situation with gentleness and love.
I remind myself of this when my brother’s views on political and social issues differ from mine. When my instinct is to lash out in frustration at our differences, or debate my side of the issue until he sees it from my perspective, I recall those nights I spent sleeping underneath of him in the bottom bunk and how he made me feel like he had my back. Instead, I bear with him – hopefully letting him know that even if I don’t agree with his views, I have his back as well.
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