The apostle Paul, through the power of the Holy Spirit, gives a command to the Ephesian church that still stands as the expectation for believers today. Paul tells them to "bear with one another." In speaking about the relationship with fellow believers, particularly those who worship in the same local gathering of believers (the church), there is a high expectation as to how we relate to one another. We are called to bear with one another.
Why is this necessary?
BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE JACKED UP! People gossip; people make commitments that they do not keep; people are selfish, people make critical statements; people get jealous; people judge others wrongfully; people hurt other people with dirty looks and cold shoulders. Why do people do this? BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE JACKED UP! We are sinners! Last time I checked, that included EVERYONE, me included.
In the midst of all this, we the church are called to live differently. We as followers of Jesus, in the middle of a broken world, with broken people, in which we are counted among them, are called to live differently, not out of the power of our own strength, but through the strength provided in Christ through the Holy Spirit. What does Paul tell us to do? Bear with one another...in love. This is how unity can be found amongst people who are very different. This is how unity can exist when sinners are the constituents.
But there is a big difference between bearing with one another vs putting up with one another. The first has everything to do with enduring through tough times & with tough people as the Lord gives you strength, the ability to forgive, and the reminder of your own sin. The latter just suggest that you DEAL WITH IT. You may have bitterness and resentment toward someone who has hurt you, knowingly or unknowingly, yet you just PUT UP WITH IT...because that is what Christians do.
Christians are not called to "put up" with one another, but to "bear with" one another, in love. We do this as we trust Christ to give us a love for those who sometimes are unlovable. We do this as we look to the Lord to help us forgive those who have hurt us. We do this as we see ourselves more and more clearly, and realize that we are part of the problem. It is much easier to bear with others when we realize the great need we have for others to bear with us.
It is a gospel-imperative that we bear with one another, not simply put up with one another.
Leave a thought below on: ways in which you think believers can grow in their ability to bear with one another. What other differences can you highlight between bearing with one another vs putting up with another?
If you enjoyed this post & found it helpful, please share it with others by clicking one of the buttons below