Forbear One Another
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2, NIV)
Pastor Tim Tseng • April 17, 2016
Main point: The corporate spiritual discipline of bearing with one another (forbearance) is giving people room to be who they are, to become who God intended, and to contribute to God’s work in the church and in society.
- Forbearance is the most important spiritual discipline for Asian Americans. In my experience, Asian Americans want the finished product rather the raw materials or putting energy into making the finished product. Sociologists have suggested that materialistic consumer behavior is one way that middle-class Asian Americans prove how “American” or “elite” they are. As the model minority they feel entitled to the best and seek to avoid association with immigrants and poor people, i.e., those who spend their lives on extracting raw materials and building the final product.
- What happens when we bring this way of thinking, consciously or subconsciously, into our church and into our personal lives? By seeking the finished product, we become intolerant of others’ shortcomings and we create a judgmental and performance-based culture.
- Thus, forbearance is giving people room to be who they are.
Gentleness helps us refrain from judging other people. Gentleness is marked by grace, humor, and discernment.
- Forbearance is giving people room to become what God intends.
Patience helps us entrust other people’s growth to God (they are becoming what God intended). When we trust in God’s sovereignty, remember that we are also a work in progress, and forbear in hope for those who may never change in our lifetime, we become patient.
- Forbearance is giving people room to contribute to God’s work in church and society.
Humility helps us release people to serve the Lord. We become humble by not demanding perfection in others, being teachable, and willing to listen first.
- Ultimately, forbearance is about transforming our attitudes. Getting rid of our tendency to judge people or churches by looking at the surface or what we think are finished products. It gives us room to look deeper into relationships and love people as God loves them.
- Being a member of a church is not about consuming the finished product. It is more about appreciating the raw materials and a passion to turn them into the finished product. People with these passions are needed at Canaan – and in the church worldwide!