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Ephesians 4:2: Bearing with one another, in love

Ephesians 4:2
[2] with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, (ESV)

Let's look at that phrase, "With patience, bearing with one another in love." What about patience That word literally means “Long-tempered.” We certainly know what it means to be short-tempered! Those who are quick to be offended; quick to be upset; quick to feel wronged are demonstrating that they are not being patient.

Now, if we are humble, and gentle, it will help us to be patient. We will have already placed our importance in a place of submission to others already! Before I get upset with my brother or sister, I need to think about who I am, and what I am all about. To be long-tempered might mean waiting longer to consider a situation.

How about this idea of “bearing with one another in love.” I like this phrase, but I fear that we only live out part of it. Let me explain. We read the words, “bearing with one another.” But do we really understand the words that are attached to that phrase?  IN LOVE!

I hear people all the time say things like, “I love them, but I don’t like them.” I would suggest to you that when you say that you love someone, but don’t like them you should really be honest and just admit that you do not really love them at all. Loving a person means you look PAST that part of them that you don’t like. And you love them! If you can’t learn to like the people you say you love you are going to have a really hard time loving anyone!

Proverbs 17:9
[9] Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.

And I want to take it to one more level. You believe that God loves you, right? How many of you would like to be loved by God the way you claim to love others? Can you imagine if you were on your knees, praying to the Lord, and you asked him, “Lord, do you love me?” And imagine the Lord responding, “My child, I love you, but I do not like you.” Would you feel loved? Is that the kind of love you want to receive? Is that the kind of love you are offering?

Romans 5:8
[8] but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God shows his love for us in loving us while we were still sinners. So, let’s consider that for a moment. Does God like sin? Does he like sinful behavior? NO! But, what is his response to us in our unlikeable condition? He LOVES us! Now, we could say, OK, well he’s God. What does that have to do with me?

1 John 4:9-11
[9] In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. [10] In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. [11] Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Do you catch what the Apostle John is saying? In the same manner that God loved us, we are to love one another. Nowhere in this passage is there a qualifier regarding whether or not the person we are to love is likeable or not. God loved us in the most sacrificial way possible. It cost him his very life to prove his love to people who were at the very least unlikeable. And what does he call us to do? Love, in the very same way that he loved.

How patient are you with your brother or sister?  Do you love them even when you cannot like their actions?  Do you need the Lord's help to do this?  Ask him!