Article published in Paso Robles Press: Dec. 4, 2019
“Forbearing One Another in Love”: Ephesians 4:2, Colossians 3:13.
Dr. Gary M. Barker
One of the great challenges of being a member of a local church or any group of people is to be able to get along with other people who are different in personality or mannerisms. Sometimes these differences can become a source of conflict and irritation. These potential problems can be avoided by displaying loving forbearance. This is what the apostle Paul encouraged believers to do in Ephesians 4:2 and Colossians 3:13. Love is to be the motive for being forbearing. Love always desires to do what is best for another person. The Greek word translated ”forbearing” is the verb “anecho.” It involves the control of a person’s emotions with patience and tolerance. A forbearing person when irritated or provoked by the bad behavior of another person will display patience that will prevent him from getting angry and desiring to punish the person causing the problem. When anger is manifested instead of forbearance, the apostle James warns us that “the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). An angry response to being unjustly treated will only cause the situation to get worse. As the old proverb says, anger is like putting gas on fire. In order to prevent the problem from compounding, loving forbearance must be the spiritual and godly response instead of getting upset. Paul the apostle mentions three attitudes and actions that will promote forbearance (Ephesians 4:2). Being humble, meek, and longsuffering will produce forbearance. In Ephesians 4:3, the apostle states that believers are to work hard to promote unity among the members of a local church. When loving forbearance is displayed, it will always promote unity because love is displayed with patient forbearance. (1 Corinthians 13:7: love endures or is patient in all things.) The manifestation of forbearance is a supernatural display of being a “new man” in Christ (Colossians 3:10-14). We are commanded to put on the “new man” which is godly, Christlike behavior. A believer has the potential to ACT LIKE CHRIST and one of the many Christlike characteristics to be put on is “forbearing one another” (Colossians 3:13). What a great blessing will result in our lives when we display LOVING FORBEARANCE instead of anger.