Forbearance, Forgiveness, and Love By Steve A. Hamilton Our Lord Jesus Christ lived and died in the face of adversity. No matter how much good our Lord accomplished in His life, there remained those who caused harm to Him. Even those who were His closest companions in life betrayed, forsook, questioned, complained, mistreated, and denied Him. Yet, our savior willingly forbore, forgave and loved everyone despite the mistreatment. Our savior left instructions for us to do the same. Ephesians 4:1-3 states, “...walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Colossians 3:12-14 states, “...put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Forbearance means to be tolerant or patient in the face of provocation. For most people, this is a difficult task. As a child, we struck back at those who hurt us. If we were called an unpleasant name, we would reply with a more hurtful description of our antagonist. As adults, we unfortunately tend to act the same way. Many people have no desire to love one another let alone forgive another. The attitude is one of revenge if you are even perceived to have done something contrary to their wishes. 2 Timothy 2:24- 26 instructs us on the proper way to address those who try our patience. “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” Forbearance and forgiveness are accomplished through love. It is the kind of love that is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 that we must emulate. Notice some of the descriptive phrases found in this passage. “Love suffers long and is kind;... does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked,... bears all things, ... endures all things.” If we are able to love, then we are able to forgive and forbear. Our Lord Jesus Christ was a perfect example. While He was being provoked, Jesus forbore (Matthew 27:11-14). While He was being crucified, Jesus forgave (Luke 23:34). Jesus was able to forgive and forbear because He loves us. “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I commanded you” (John 15: 12-14).