Have you ever had an interaction with someone you love that left you hurting and frustrated, or tried to explain something important to someone only to be brushed off? Have you ever heard something that someone said about you behind your back and been hurt, confused, or even angry? For anyone over the age of 10, these statements ring true. If we closely examine ourselves, we also find that we are guilty of the above offenses, and many times these interactions happen between Christian brothers and sisters. How are brothers and sisters in Christ supposed to respond to this inevitable friction in our relationships with one another?
Human relationships are often difficult. We know we are supposed to love each other, but many times we fail to show Christ in how we treat others. Even the best marriages and closest relationships have problems. We are all complex individuals, and interactions between one another can often be confusing and frustrating even with the best intentions. Simply knowing what we should do as Christians doesn’t make it easy to carry out. Relationships will never be perfect, but despite this fact, we are called to bear with one another in love.
Colossians 3:12- 14 Gives us some great advice: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
This verse is the key in persevering in our relationships with each other. Specifically, this verse tells us to “forgive as the Lord forgave you” and the only way to do that is to understand who Christ is and what he did for us. When we are upset with one another, and we want to walk away, or react in anger it helps to remember the image of Christs sacrifice for our sin. He was blameless, but willingly chose to be tortured and put to death to save us out of love to the glory of God. When we think about how undeserving we were of this sacrifice, and then apply that concept to our less than perfect human interactions, many problems become easier to solve or endure.
Christian love doesn’t work without the example of Christ. We aren’t just given a list of rules to follow, we are given a perfect example of what it means to love and bear with one another, and that love will be what ultimately “bind us together in perfect unity.” May we all seek to be more like Christ daily and grow in patience and understanding bearing with one another in love.