We all have people in our lives that we may not “mesh” with. They may be more difficult to be with than other people. They may be less friendly or pushier than others. They may have different opinions and beliefs than we do. My husband used to tease me by saying, “Karen, not everybody thinks like you do.” And I’d respond, “Well, they SHOULD!” I was joking, of course, but if I’m honest, I have to admit that I do generally think I’m right about things (don’t we all?). And isn’t it arrogant of me to think that way? As if there is no other viewpoint or no other way to be than to be like me? There it is — ugly arrogance.
There’s a very important Bible verse that I had to learn how to apply in situations like these. It’s from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (what we now know as chapter 4, verse 2). The King James version renders it like this, “Bear with one another in love.” I love that, but perhaps it is better to look at the New Living Translation, which says, “Be patient with one another, making allowances for one another’s faults because of your love.”
Wow. Patience. People’s faults (we all have ‘em!).
We tend to measure, judge, and reject rather than love, accept and forgive. How would you feel if you were measured and rejected? It’s not pleasant. It hurts. And it’s WRONG. We are all accountable to God for how we treat others.
The Bible tells us that we are going to be offended at times. It also gives clear instructions about what to do when that happens. It does NOT say, “measure them, reject them, write them off.” It says to forgive one another and bear with one another in love. As Pastor Mike says, “God never gave us permission to love less.”
There’s a person in my life that I had a hard time with. She was one of those people who didn’t have a very good “filter” and would say anything that came into her head – which was sometimes offensive to others. It was hard for me to relate to her because of that. Normally I avoid people like that because they make me uncomfortable. But she and I were put together in various groups and I had to learn to relate to her. I didn’t reject her or merely tolerate her. As I got to know her better and heard her life stories, my understanding of her grew and I was able to have a more tolerant and patient interaction with her. And you know what? She grew. She changed. Do you know why she changed? I’m going to tell you. . .
She changed because she loved the Lord and HE did a work in her. I am amazed by her. What was once a weakness has now become a strength.
So . . . don’t give up on people! Don’t write them off. Make allowances for one another’s faults BECAUSE OF YOUR LOVE!