“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” —Ephesians 4:2
Are there people in your life that you have trouble getting along with? Their personality, manners, and peculiar quirks get on your nerves? Being in their company drives you up a wall? C.S. Lewis writes about such people in his book God in the Dock. He points out the things that frustrate us in other people are the very same things God endures in each of us everyday! Lewis writes: “You are just that sort of person. You also have a fatal flaw in your character. All the hopes and plans of others have again and again shipwrecked on your character just as your hopes and plans have shipwrecked on theirs.”
Knowing this should motivate us to show the same patience and acceptance to others that God shows toward each of us everyday. It’s called forbearance. Forbearance is to politely and patiently restrain the impulse to retaliate when you are irritated. Basically it is the capacity to “put up” with difficult people and exhibit grace instead of allowing them to get you riled.
Next time someone’s idiosyncrasies rub you the wrong way, respond with the same grace and forbearance that God has shown you. As Paul writes, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” —Colossians 3:13