Jun 18th Devotion

Bearing With One Another
by Sarah Phillips


Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3: 13-14

Sometimes I think the biggest stumbling block to living the Christian life exists in our interactions with other Christians. Those who profess faith in Christ are very capable of hurting each other – perhaps even unusually “gifted” at it.

Yes, fellowship within the Church can be wonderfully fulfilling, offering true glimpses of the unity we will experience in heaven. But (as life frequently reminds us) we’re not in heaven yet, so our relationships with one another often fall short of the “Beatific Vision.”

So what do we do when we’re faced with failure in our relationships, especially when our fellow Christians fail to meet our expectations? Much has been said about the necessity of forgiving trespassers. Scripture makes it clear we are to imitate Christ and show mercy to those who have wronged us, and counselors have written extensively on the personal freedom one finds in forgiving even the most terrible sins. But I think sometimes it’s not the huge transgressions that challenge us most. Sometimes it’s the smaller infractions that wear on our souls.

Perhaps you’ve observed imperfections in another that open personal wounds, rub you the wrong way or just plain annoy you. Perhaps there is someone in your life that consistently brings out your ugly side or whose presence simply symbolizes something you desire but have not achieved. This kind of pain is often absorbed interiorly. There’s no public stand to take, no 12-step program designed to walk you through.

Over time, we may find that we begin to keep count of this person’s failings. We may catch ourselves gossiping about them or avoiding them in our daily lives. Each infraction is like a small stone that eventually builds a wall around the heart, a wall that stands not only between you and that person but also between you and Christ.

One of my favorite Christian heroes, St. Therese of Lisieux, faced such a situation in her community of cloistered Carmelite nuns. Behind the walls of her tranquil convent, relational strife simmered. Some nuns had maddeningly annoying habits that interfered with prayerful contemplation whereas others displayed a variety of mundane vices like laziness or sloppiness. St. Therese had a personal dislike for a particular nun who often acted unhappy and critical. She sought ways to avoid this person in her daily tasks – until she realized she was failing to love one of God’s children. Therese had personally experienced Christ's love, with full knowledge of her invisible imperfections, so how could she justify failing to love this nun just because her faults were visible?

As her heart changed, so did her actions. Therese chose to smile at this young woman every time she passed her. She displayed unusual grace in their interactions, always ready to help with a task or share a kind word.

The change in Therese’s demeanor did not go unnoticed. This nun made note to others that it seemed Therese had an unusual affection for her, and she began to return Therese’s smiles.

I realize I would do well to imitate Therese more often. I struggle with the small acts of charity, the little things that only God notices. Yet, the decision to love in even the most seemingly insignificant ways transforms hearts. And while Therese’s actions may not have brought on world peace, they brought Christ’s peace to her world.

Intersecting Faith & Life: While it’s good to speak out against wrong, some situations call for a silent gesture of love and grace. This week, perform a small act of kindness towards a person you find challenging to love. Remember that Christ knows all of our faults, yet His love never wavers.

No Comments


Recent

Archive

 2021

Categories

Tags

10 nations 5th bowl judgment 6th Bowl Anxiety Armageddon Attributes of God Autism Battles Battle Be on Guard Be still Bearing with one another Being Still Bible Blessing God Bowl Judgment #2 Busyness Coming of Jesus Contentment Courage Crown of righteousness Directing our paths Discipleship Earthquakes End times Eric Lidell Eternity Evil Exemplary prayer Faith over fear Faith wavers Feeding the Fire Fellowship with God Free Generosity Gideon Giving thanks God at work God is working God's Holiness God's Involvment God's Whispers God's call on your life God's delays God's direction God's will Grattitude Hearing from God Heart of Service Heart of the problem Hidden Blessings His Love Hope Incomparable Word Jesus' Kingdom Jesus' return Jesus Lightning Listen for His voice Listening Little by little Living godly Love Moments More Need Obstacles One world religion Persistence in prayer Pour in spirit Power Prayer Pray Progress Protection Proverbs Purpose Rainbows Reading the bible Reason Redemption Rock Self-Focus Serviing Shepherd Spiritual Vitamins Standing tall Stepping out Still on the throne Thank God Thankfulness The Prize The Tongue The gift Thunder Trumpet Two witnesses Waiting patiently Waterfall Weak Weary Soul Wisdom Worship You matter Your race all together antichrist balancing things best laid plans blessings coming of the Lord continuing in sin daily bible study darkness delight in the word of God delight doubt drinking water endurance everyday faith family breakdown fear forest for the trees godlessness godliness godly life good times grace growing up grumbling hard times hearts towards heaven heat joy kings of the east knowledge lasting Covenant living for Jesus longing for God loving one another make a way mark of the beast miracles missing needing Answers nothing goes right patience peace pleasing God prepared provision rapture relationships running searing seas turned to blood season set example setting out sing unto the Lord sin spend time with Jesus sunburn thanksgiving thanksgivi thought life trusting God two-witnesses unfulfilled desires waiting walk faithfully walk in the light walk with God walking with God water to blood waver in prayers weapon white horse willingness word of God world chaos yes to God