Our friend and sister Kathleen has been called home by our Lord. Her struggles here are over. Thank you all for your prayers and compassionate acts on her behalf. We will miss her courage and unwavering faith in the goodness of God.
Archive for August 19th, 2009
with all humility and meekness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love Ephesians 4:2
Bearing – How do prisoners walk? Paul describes each step. Humility and meekness is the first foot forward, then long-suffering, then bearing with one another. We have probably heard a lot about humility. Perhaps we have even been given instruction about meekness (domesticated power). Certainly anyone in any sort of personal relationship has a wealth of experience with long-suffering. But the next step isn’t quite what we might imagine. What it means to bear with one another is not about tolerance. It is about rainfall.
The Greek word anecho means “to hold up or hold back from falling.” Bearing with you doesn’t come close to tolerating you. What Paul wants me to do is lift you up when you need support. I must be your load-bearing wall. That sometimes means I won’t tolerate you. I won’t tolerate your sinful behavior or your evil inclination or anything else that prevents you from experiencing the full delight in the Lord. Sometimes being the load bearing wall means acting like concrete – but only sometimes.
Other times bearing with you requires a lot of bending. It requires stooping down to get underneath your problems and lift them off your shoulders. It requires getting down in the dirt, laying a foundation, finding my way to the basement and acting as the floor under your feet. It requires tenacity, resilience and reliability as I demonstrate over and over that I will not leave you. I bend to help.
So, what does all this have to do with rain? Well, this Greek word is found in the LXX in Amos 4:7 where God uses the Hebrew word mana’ for withholding rainfall. Sometimes bearing with you is holding you back, keeping you, retaining you and acting as your spiritual umbrella. Sometimes bearing with you means keeping you out of the rain.
There is a lot to do when I take the step of bearing with you, but none of it implies tolerance for what is false, evil or injurious. Whether I am the wall around you, the floor under you, the cable that bends with you or the umbrella that keeps you dry makes no difference to the truth. If I am going to bear with you, then I must reflect the character of the One who did those things for me.
Ready for your walking shoes?
Topical Index: bearing, walk, anecho, mana’, Amos 4:7, Ephesians 4:2