I have always loved words. You would have never known this listening to me speak with my poor English and Hoosier accent as I was growing up, but words have always fascinated me.

This morning the word that caught my attention was “forbearance.” The Apostle Paul used this word in Ephesians 4:2 calling us to show “…forbearance to one another in love….

As I studied this word I found a few definitions. A paraphrase of several of them is “to offer grace and restraint to those who knowingly or unintentionally provoke you.”

In life, it seems there are so many who thrive on drama, who are quick to play the victim, and who seek to divide and control. To choose to not participate shows true restraint. To look past the offense and see someone who is hurting, wounded, confused, or frustrated and to show them grace is an amazing example of love – whether or not they recognize it as such.

In a world that is so easily offended, to be willing to see beyond the abrasiveness and offer grace to those who seemingly do not deserve it is a very tangible way to shine the light of Christ into someone’s darkness.

Which reminds me of another passage from the Apostle Paul where he tell us love “does not take into account a wrong” (1 Corinthians 13:5 NASB). Having forbearance is a challenge for most of us, but it’s something worth practicing as we seek to show the love of Jesus to a hurting and wounded world.

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