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
Every day we encounter opportunities to get upset with people about something they did or said. If we let down our guard and indulge in these urges, we will live in a continual state of frustration and strife, and our spiritual lives will suffer dramatically. Sometimes it can be very difficult to convince our minds to overlook a perceived slight, forgive the offender, and move on with our lives. However, the Bible offers us a powerful strategy that can be used to cultivate peace in our relationships: We must learn to extend grace to others and to realize that humans act human.
In Colossians 3:13, the apostle Paul wrote, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” This verse specifically outlines how we are to respond to people in our lives who disappoint or upset us. And since life is filled with disappointments, it’s important for us to understand exactly what Paul meant when he wrote these words.
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Paul began with the phrase, “Forbearing one another….” This word “forbearing” is from the Greek word anechomai, which means to endure one another, to put up with one another, or to have tolerance of one another. It is the opposite of acting intolerant or being short-tempered with other people. At some point along the way, we all become frustrated with our friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances. In those moments, the most Christ-like attitude to demonstrate may be to simply show forbearance and let it go. That doesn’t mean we have to compromise or ignore an obvious problem; however, it does mean that sometimes taking the higher road means shutting our mouths and letting go of the offense or disappointment.
That’s why Paul said in this verse that sometimes forbearing or putting up with the people you interact with in life is the highest road you can take. So when your flesh gets offended or you find yourself wanting to nitpick someone about what you perceive to be his or her failures, take some time to get quiet before God and ask Him what to do. It may be that His highest will in that situation is for you to simply show forbearance and let go of the matter. Although loving confrontation is needed at times, it is not always the right course to take.
Paul went on to say, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another….” The word “forgiving” comes from the word charis, the Greek word for grace. It carries the idea of wholeheartedly forgiving, freely forgiving, or readily forgiving. This is a step beyond simply being forbearing; it requires our response to go to the next level as we choose to freely and wholeheartedly forgive with no restraints and no strings attached. Just as God has extended His grace to us so many times by freely forgiving us of our sins against Him, now the Holy Spirit instructs you and me to extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us or offended us.
In the latter part of this verse, Paul relayed the core of his message, saying, “…If any man have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” The word “quarrel” is a Greek word mamphe, which means a complaint or grievance against someone and usually depicts a complaint that is backed with solid evidence.
Perhaps someone failed to do what you expected him to do or acted in a manner that was below your expectations of him. Regardless of what you perceive that this person did wrong or what “quarrel” you have with him, the Bible commands you to forgive “even as Christ forgave you.” Isn’t that what Christ did for you?
It’s difficult for me to imagine why any of us would refuse to forgive someone else for a perceived offense in light of how graciously God has forgiven us. Certainly we are all guilty or worthy of blame! How could we ever forget that it was for our dreadful sin that Jesus died on the Cross? Jesus bore unspeakable suffering by taking on punishment He didn’t deserve — and He did it freely for us.
Now Paul urged us, “…As Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” You and I didn’t deserve the forgiveness we received, but God forgave us anyway. He forgave us for all we have done in the past, and His mercy is so boundless that He continues to forgive us in the present when we ask for forgiveness. Now we who are forgiven have a responsibility to forgive.
So if you’re having a day filled with opportunities to get upset with people and you feel yourself sliding into a state of frustration and strife, take a moment to pause and meditate on the truths of Colossians 3:13. When you remember how much you’ve been forgiven by Christ — and by others whom you’ve deliberately or accidently wronged in the past — you’ll realize you don’t have a right to stay upset with anyone!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I thank You that the Holy Spirit is a Revealer of truth. He will lead and guide me into all truth and show me things to come. I thank You that I never need to worry or even wonder about what You want me to do in any area of my life. If I ask You for wisdom and open my heart to hear, the Holy Spirit will make Your will clear to me. I praise You for Your wonderful plan and for helping me fulfill my part in it for Your glory!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that the Lord guides me continually by His Spirit within me. I trust in the Lord with all my heart and don’t lean to my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge His wisdom and His presence, and He meticulously directs my steps to follow the good path He has prepared for me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Can you think of a specific moment when the Holy Spirit “revealed” an answer that you desperately needed to know? How did He reveal that answer to you?
- Have you ever had a “revelation” — a moment when the Spirit of God supernaturally removed an invisible veil that obstructed your view of things — and when that view was removed, you could see everything you needed to see and know exactly what you needed to know?
- What are you doing in your life right now that is a direct result of a special revelation from the Holy Spirit? Maybe it’s more than one thing, so why not write down your thoughts and demonstrate to yourself just how much the Holy Spirit has revealed the will of God to you?