Colossians 3-4

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” 3:13

I like the way this verse is phrased in my New Living Translation. I’m more familiar with this verse reading “bear one another’s burdens”, but I prefer “make allowance for”.

This means to accept behavior that you would not normally accept because you know why someone has behaved that way. I love Paul’s letters to the churches because it gives specific ways to follow God’s highest command for us to ‘love one another’. We are trained by culture to think that love is an emotion, not an action. But today’s chapters show us how much work love is. Good, beautiful, heart-shifting work.

We can’t bear with one another if we aren’t being intentional. For example, my husband knows that I run late when we’re trying to get out the door. He really values other people’s time and hates being late, so this understandably bothers him. Instead of following me around telling me how annoying this is, he helps me get out the door. He reminds me when we need to leave earlier in the day, he asks how he can help (and sometimes resorts to tricking me with a false departure time) and overall comes alongside me. He anticipates this fault of mine, but without a “I knew you were going to ___” accusation. It’s loving, with room for forgiveness. This is a light-hearted example, but I feel known and experience God’s grace through it.

Of course, you’re bound to start figuring people out when you’re in an interpersonal relationship with them. The real work is for us to live this out in our relationships with everyone. Getting to know your coworkers, extending grace to strangers, reaching out and loving your neighbors, forgiving that family member whose mistakes you see coming a mile away etc, etc.

And not because you’re right and they’re wrong, or you have it together and they don’t. Because we are all in need of forgiveness and it is endlessly available to us. We aren’t to hoard this gift from God, but imitate it.

What verse jumped out to you?

 

-Carly

 

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