October 10, 2010

Do I Have to Put up With That?

Ephesians 4:1-6

As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved … bear with each other …
Colossians 3:12-13


Does he have to play the drums so loud? Why is she playing that hymn so slowly? And why does he talk so much? And she’s always late! And …

Paul urges us to “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). I suppose that’s the right thing to do. But does that mean I have to put up with the questions she’s always asking and the way he runs a meeting? Yes, I do. As long as central Christian values are not at stake, Paul wants us to “bear with each other.”

In any group there will be people who do things that annoy us, whose habits we find irritating, who don’t do things “the right way.” In any group we will do and say things that others will find strange and maybe even bizarre. But because we are sisters and brothers in Christ, they will put up with us and we will put up with them.

The verb “bear with” is in the present tense, meaning that we must continue to put up with each other day after day. We must not allow irritations and annoyances to disturb our fellowship or diminish our love for each other.

Sometimes that’s not an easy thing to do. But if, in God’s strength, we have clothed ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, it can be done!

Thank you, Lord, that people put up with the strange things I like and the weird things I do. Help me to put up with the shortcomings of others too. Amen.

About the author — Harvey Stob

Rev. Harvey Stob and his wife, Audrey, served as missionaries in Argentina for eleven years. They then served churches in Cincinnati, Ohio; Ridgewood, New Jersey; and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Harvey retired from full-time pastoral work in 2009. He and Audrey have three children and seven grandchildren.

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