My verse for the year is “Bear with one another in love” (Eph 4:2)
Strange verse to pick, I know.
When I preached on this earlier in the year, I expected this 2021 to be a challenge (a repeat of 2020). Little did I know how relevant this verse would be as lockdown goes on.
Little did I know how relevant this verse would be as lockdown goes on.
A lot of life is bearing with others—and, to be frank, others bearing with you: putting up with other people’s personalities, oddities, annoyances, habits and quirks. But there is an extra pressure of bearing with people during lockdown.
I have listed some types of people you might be encountering during this season that God calls us to bear with in love:
- That friend who has not called or checked in with you.
- Those people who keep telling you to be be grateful by comparing your life to how bad it is in Afghanistan.
- Your parents who are not taking this virus seriously.
- Your siblings who are frustrated by your parents’ choices and try to parent them.
- That spouse, who you love, but is ALWAYS there.
- That spouse, who is around but not present—distant, overwhelmed by work or always on their phone.
- Your single bubble-friend who frankly is a bit of a disappointment. And with whom now you are stuck.
- Your children who are driving you crazy!
- Your kid’s school teacher who is giving too much school work or not nearly enough.
- That boss whose Zoom meetings go way too long and has zero empathy for how others are coping.
- That work colleague who is piling up the work and acting as if life were normal.
- That social media friend who keeps posting and posting and posting of what they can do in their LGA.
- Your pastor who has not been there the way you hoped they would.
- That COVID denier, who believes it has all been blown out of proportion and masks don’t work.
- That COVID fearer who goes above and beyond the rules and judges you for not doing the same.
- That COVID predictor who loves to guess how long lockdown will go for and believes they are an expert because they read an article.
- That anti-vaxer who just will not listen.
- That vaccine evangelist who asks you again and again if you have “had the jab yet?”
- Scott Morrison and your Premier as they roll out the single biggest inoculation campaign in our nation’s history.
- Those (or even yourself) who think we could have done a better job.
- Those from other states or nations who tell you what a good job they are doing.
- One another as we wait.
Christ puts up with us all day long.
Friends, Christ calls us to bear with others, lockdown or no lockdown; to put up with people in love, showing patience and humility. Why? Well, let’s face it, Christ puts up with us all day long, showing love, patience and humility. We might not think of it in this way, but do you not think Jesus is scratching his head (so to speak) at the weird and unusual things, thoughts and actions you do, day to day in this lockdown. And yet, he stills loves you immensely.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Eph 4:2.
A Prayer to Bear…
I ask that in this time you may give me the drive and energy I need to bear with other image bearers in my life. It is not easy, particularly when I am stressed, drained and over it. But you have placed my family, friends and work colleagues in my life for my good. I ask that Holy Spirit, you will grow in me patience, humility and kindness and that, that would bear fruit and be noticed and enjoyed by others. Lord, as the weeks turn into months with this lockdown, I pray that I would not only put up with others, but bear with them showing love. A love that you have shown and are showing me right now. Love you Lord.