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  • Writer's pictureJamie Holden

March 23 Bible Reading Plan

“Oh no, here he comes again. I can't STAND that guy. He is so annoying. All he ever wants to do is talk about fishing! Why does he think I care about the one that got away? Everything is always about him. He never talks about anything else."

"Ugh, she is heading my way. She is the reason I hate greeting time at church, or as she should call it, 'annoy everyone with my latest sob story of why I am such a pathetic creature.’ I knew I should have slipped out to the restroom during announcements. Now I have to talk to her!"

"GRR….I just found out my mother-in-law is coming for a visit! I can't stand her. She is so rude to me. If I have to hear one more time how my wife should have married Hank Johnson instead of me, I will scream! Why does she have to visit so much? It's not like she wants to see me, or I want to see her!"

"When God said to love one another, He couldn't have meant John! Everything with him is a crisis! ‘Oh no, I lost a paper clip.’ Better call out the National Guard. I am so sick of him trying to draw me into his latest issue. Whoever said only women are drama queens never met John! I can't believe I must work with him on the church committee. He will turn it into Chornobyl before the end of the first meeting!"

Does this sound familiar to you? Please don't tell me I am the only one who has such thoughts!

But how does the Bible say we should act toward such people?

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. (Colossians 3:13, NIV)

Let's look at the first part of this verse.

The original words interpreted "Bear with each other" mean “to put up with, endure:– put up with.”

Forbearance basically means that we tolerate people no matter how annoying they are! Face it, every one of us had someone pop into our heads when we read that line. Believe it or not, there are probably people out there who would have you pop into their minds! Shocking, right??

Humans with different personalities will always encounter people we can't stand. They irk us, annoy us, and drive us downright crazy. However, they are also fellow believers, relatives, co-workers, or a host of other relationships that we just can't avoid in life. We can either go through life angry, frustrated, and annoyed or follow Paul's example and practice forbearance.

So how do we do it? How do we stop letting co-worker Lenny's tardiness stop driving our Type A personality crazy? How do we tolerate dear Aunt Eddy at the next family gathering when we know she will find a way to insult you and everyone else present?

Well, the first thing to do is remember that everyone has flaws and good qualities. We need to look past the things that drive us crazy and look for the good in other people. For example, someone in my life has a personality that drives me insane. They don't do anything wrong to me…as a matter of fact, they treat me well, but they drive me absolutely nuts. However, I have learned to practice forbearance with this person.

I have realized that they have a lot of good qualities, and the things that annoy me are also the things that God uses inside of them to minister and serve others, so I have to respect them and treat them well even if I don't enjoy being with them.

Another way to develop forbearance is to remember some people don't like you either. I know this is shocking to hear, but just like there are things you can't stand in other people, there are things about you other people can't stand. So you need to treat the people who bug you the way you want the people you annoy to treat you.

We also need to remember that no one has arrived; God is still working in all of us. If God is willing to put up with us as He changes us and makes us what He wants us to be, then why aren't we willing to do the same for others that He is working on? Maybe the thing that drives you up the wall is something God loves about the other person. If so, you have to learn to tolerate it. Perhaps it is something that God doesn't like either, and He will change in the future. It is His job to do it, not yours, so practice forbearance until He does His work.

The final thing to remember is something you learned many years ago. “If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!”

Keep your mouth shut if you can't tolerate someone and have nothing good to say about them. The world doesn't need to hear your thoughts and opinions about someone you can't stand. All this will do is cause someone else to develop the same negative attitude toward the other person. God's will is unity among His children, so if you have nothing good to say about someone, keep your opinions to yourself.

Forbearance is a quality trait every human needs, saved or unsaved. To reach our full potential as God's sons, we must practice it. This will promote unity among God's people, and unity brings nothing but growth and success, allowing us to influence even more people with God's love and saving grace.

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