“I just cannot stand that brother!”, “She is unbearable, I give up!” How many times have you heard this? How many times have you said this? There are brothers and sisters in our church or community of faith who are beyond our ability with which to deal and have fellowship. We just can’t.
This kind of attitude is responsible for many divisions in the body of Christ. How many churches started because brothers and sisters could not bear each other? Sometimes it was a group or faction that could not live with another group and they split the church, leaving a trail of destruction and animosity behind.
The problem is not only between the brethren. It is bad testimony for outsiders watching the people that proclaim the love of God and forgiveness fighting each other. This may explain why some people do not want to come to church.
There are, at least, three reasons for us to bear one another. Here they are:
- We are all part of the family of God – The first reason for us to bear one another is because we are members of the family of God. We were adopted in this wonderful family. Writing to the Ephesians Paul stated: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2.” In this context Paul uses the words, “calling”, “unity of the Spirit”, and “bond of peace.” These terms give us the understanding that we are part of the body of Christ. We must see the others as members of the same body, brothers and sisters, and because of that we should bear one another.
- We are all broken – It is important for us to understand and to accept that, even though we are redeemed by Christ, and members of His body – the church – we are still sinners. We will do things that we are not supposed to do. Brothers and sisters will hurt each other, mistreat each other, and will say words that offend each other. This is why the apostle Paul wrote: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13.” We will need to learn to ask for forgiveness and to forgive.
- We are on different levels in our journey with Christ – Finally, we need to understand that in our journey with Christ we are on different levels. Paul, in the letters to the Romans chapter 10, and Corinthians chapter 14, talks about the mature brothers/sisters and the weak brothers/sisters. He tries to help the members of those churches understand that they need to adapt so they can live with brothers and sisters who have not yet matured. In the letter to the Galatians he writes this: “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2” Here he uses the term “spiritual” as a synonym for mature. It is important for us to understand that not all the members of the church are on the same level, and because of that we need to bear one another.
Have a blessed week,