Colossians 3:13 tells us to, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” I think I’ve come to the conclusion that this may be the hardest thing for people to do!
I spent a great deal of time these past couple weeks talking with various employees at my day job about perceived (and some real) issues with which they were struggling regarding teammates and their manager. I even talked to the union steward – who is a good Christian man – when two employees engaged him with their complaints.
The depressing part about all these conversations was none of it had to rise to my level. In fact, none of it had to happen at all if people would take the simple advice in Colossians 3:13.
Scripture tells us to bear with each other. Yes, it’s hard to put up with someone else’s dysfunction, suspicions, gossip, and even passive-aggressive (or aggressive-aggressive!) attacks. But we are called to bear with one another – turn the other cheek! Don’t prescribe motives to people. Don’t retaliate to get revenge. Don’t keep the negative nonsense going. Simply bear with one another. You don’t know their story or why they’re doing what they’re doing. Maybe they are as evil as you think, but maybe they perceive something you don’t that is making them act that way. Bear with them no matter how hard it is and don’t take the bait and cause a bunch of unnecessary drama by responding in kind!
Scripture tells us to forgive one another if you have a grievance against someone. Even if the person is a jerk and has done something to you, show mercy and forgive them! Is it fair? Not necessarily, but it’s not yours to judge – God judges, you forgive! Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Imagine if God looked at you as you sometimes look at those who need your forgiveness. Hmmm. Yet, God forgave you freely, showing you mercy, grace, and love. You need to do the same to others in your life.
Yet, we don’t do these two things (Bear with and forgive one another) and because we don’t our relationships at work, church, home, and everywhere else are a mess. Yes, I get that it’s hard – I struggle with it, too. But, I only struggle with it when I am thinking of myself first and not God. When I am selfish, I cannot put others before me. I cannot bear with them and I certainly cannot forgive them, because they are ticking me off and that is what matters more. But, when I put God first, I know that I must consider others better than myself (Philippians 2:3), and I can humble myself enough to bear with others the way that God bears with me, and I can forgive others the way God forgives me.
Colossians 3:13 should be everyone’s life verse! As long as it is up to you, be a peacemaker. Seek out those with whom you are finding it hard to put up or forgive. Meet with them and talk. Don’t allow situations to escalate as far as it is up to you. Follow God not your own selfish emotions and God will bless you richly.