Fruitful 5: Forbearance
We need the Spirit's help to keep going when people are against us. But what does this forbearance look like in practice?
- Forbearance is part of God’s unchanging nature
- Also the reason the second coming has not taken place yet (2 Peter 3:9)
- Forbearance can mean being calm while waiting for something (e.g. Hebrews 6:12)
- Meaning more relevant here is bearing up under provocation (see description of Jesus in 1 Peter 2:20-25)
- For us it means keeping going even when people are against us
- We must not confuse this with coercive or ungodly leadership. There are times when we must hear criticism and act upon it.
- But if opposition is unjust, we bear with those who seem opposed and remain calm
- Closely linked to idea of perseverance
Questions to think about
- Think of people or situations in the church or in ministry that frustrate you? Why? How will exercising the Spirit’s forbearance make a difference to these particular situations?
- What sins must you confess and ask the Spirit to deal with that challenge forbearance? For example, anger or bitterness.
- What processes do you have in place to make sure you do not use the ‘excuse’ of forbearance for failing to deal with your own sins?
- Rejoice in the Lord’s forbearance with you!
- Pray for people and situations by name that you find draining and where you need the Spirit’s help.
- Ask for discernment that you might better recognise sinful behaviour in your leadership and address sins that make forbearance difficult.
Further passages to reflect on
1 Peter 2:20-25