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Posts Tagged ‘forbearance’

Now here’s a word we don’t use much any more: forbearance. I understand why, it has so many possible meanings, from patience to easy-goingness, to restraint and endurance. It’s actually a type of grace. Forbearance is usually undeserved.

Colossians 3:12-13a, 14
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 . . . And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

And so, with these definitions in mind, I consider how the power of love can bind this unique grace to the other virtues, how love must be luxuriously forbearing. In fact, all of these virtues only become so when grace or forbearance is present.

According to Luke, Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that.” [Luke 6:32-33]

Forbearance is a key to virtue. How many paradoxes will I discover for myself before I can actually embrace them? When will I really swim upstream like the salmon? What will finally drive me to act the opposite to every habitual behavior and response in me? When will I forbear instead of rail against those personal injustices, those unlovely remarks, or those exploitations?

To live out true paradox, like forbearance and love, requires the deepest inner strength and self-awareness. Otherwise, the day to day slips into victim-thinking or doormat behavior. Forbearance must be conscious, mindful, intentional, and eventually, after a lot of practice (in the Presence) and interplay with the Holy Spirit, it might become a norm.

Now there’s a great big hairy audacious goal.

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