Bear with one another

Faith & Inspiration

This is a little report that took a strange turn. I was telling my son about a dear friend of mine who came to visit, and how before she arrived I was careful to make sure this time that my cupboard door was closed. The last time she was here we sat at the table and chatted and prayed, and at the end of the hour she had remarked, "I did pretty well with your cupboard door being open."

If you do not "get" this, maybe you have never stood up from a comfortable chair to straighten a picture on the wall about 2 degrees, or have never walked down the street avoiding stepping on the cracks in the sidewalk- not out of any superstition but just … because.

Paul exhorts "bearing with one another" (Colossians 3:13). Your first reaction to the idea of "bearing" may be negative, as if he meant a grit-your-teeth kind of bearing. But I believe Paul means a loving and even good-natured "bearing" with one another, and I believe this is possible and that you and I have done it. Paul says elsewhere:

"We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves" (Romans 15:1).

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Same deal: a sympathetic bearing with people's failings or weird habits. There is a woman dear to me who, in the course of conversation, almost always repeats her point three times, prefacing the second two repetitions with the phrase "As I say. …" I pointed this stylistic idiosyncrasy out to her once and she was offended, so I have never mentioned it again.

I was speaking about these things with my son today, and I mentioned a dear friend of mine who lives so strictly by the clock that it is emotionally hard for her when someone is even five minutes late for an appointment. My son listened patiently, got a strange look on his face, and then said, "Hold on, hold on, let me get this straight: You are always late, and you have a friend who has a hard time with you being late, and you're telling me that she has the problem that must be borne with graciously?"

And then I just slinked away to write this little column, trying ever to make lemonade out of my lemons.

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.


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