The Power of Forbearance: What Does it Mean to be Forbearing?

by Sister McCook
A Woman Praying and Trusting God

As Christians, we are called to be patient, kind, and forgiving towards others.

However, in today’s world, it’s easy to become frustrated and lack forbearance.

In this post, we’ll explore the meaning of forbearance, why it’s important, and how we can cultivate this powerful trait in our daily lives.

What is forbearance?

First, let’s define forbearance.

It means to have self-restraint or patience in the face of provocation or annoyance.

It’s about choosing to respond in a calm and kind manner, even when we feel like lashing out in anger or frustration.

Forbearance is a powerful tool in our relationships with others, and it’s something that God calls us to practice regularly.

Why is forbearance important?

The Bible teaches us that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. – Matthew 22:39

This means showing kindness and empathy towards those around us, even when they have hurt us or wronged us.

Forbearance allows us to rise above the petty squabbles and misunderstandings that can sour our relationships, and instead focus on building strong and meaningful connections with others.

How can we cultivate forbearance in our daily lives?

One way is by practicing self-reflection and mindfulness.

When we feel ourselves becoming angry or frustrated, we can take a step back and examine why we are feeling this way.

Is it because of something the other person did, or is it due to our own expectations or fears?

This process of introspection can help us to respond more calmly and rationally.

Another way to cultivate forbearance is by seeking out the counsel and advice of wise and trusted individuals.

By talking through our struggles and challenges with others, we can gain new perspectives and insights, and learn how to respond in a more patient and understanding manner.

Finally, we can cultivate forbearance by placing greater trust in God.

When we feel overwhelmed or frustrated, we can turn to prayer and meditation, trusting that God will guide us toward the right actions and decisions.

Examples of forbearance in the bible

One biblical example of forbearance is found in the book of Proverbs.

Proverbs 19:11 says, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”

This verse reminds us that wisdom and patience go hand in hand and that we should strive to overlook offenses when possible.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we should ignore sin or wrongdoing; rather, we should address it with love and humility, seeking to restore our relationships with others in a God-honoring way.

Another biblical example of forbearance is found in Colossians 3:13, which says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

This verse reminds us that we are called to bear with each other, to show patience and compassion even when we don’t feel like it.

By doing this, we can strengthen our relationships with one another and with God.

How can we exercise forbearance in our relationships? Here are some practical tips

1. Seek to understand before being understood

Whenever conflict arises, it’s tempting to defend ourselves or blame others.

However, a better approach is to listen to each other’s perspectives and feelings, even if we don’t agree with them.

By empathizing with the other person, we can show them that we care and are willing to work together toward a resolution.

2. Reframe and rephrase negative thoughts

Sometimes, our thoughts can lead us down a path of resentment, bitterness, or anger.

By reframing our negative thoughts and turning them into positive affirmations, we can shift our attitude toward forgiveness and reconciliation.

For example, instead of thinking “I can’t believe they did that again,” we can rephrase it as “I choose to forgive them and give them another chance.”

3. Practice self-control and humility

Forbearance requires us to exercise self-control and resist the urge to retaliate or seek revenge.

It also calls us to be humble and acknowledge our own limitations and mistakes.

When we let go of our ego and pride, we create space for healing and restoration in our relationships.

What is the difference between forbearing and forgiving?

Forbearing is a conscious decision to tolerate negative behavior without retaliation or resentment, while forgiving involves releasing anger and resentment towards the person or situation.

Forbearing can be an act of self-preservation, allowing us to set boundaries and protect our emotional well-being.

Forgiveness, on the other hand, can liberate us from the weight of anger and pain, but it requires a deeper level of emotional work.

It’s important to remember that forgiveness is a personal choice and it doesn’t necessarily mean we condone the negative behavior.

Ultimately, both forbearing and forgiving can help us move towards healing and growth, but the key is to find what works best for our individual needs.

Forbearance is a powerful and transformative virtue that enables us to love and serve others in a Christ-like manner.

It involves choosing to forgive, overlook, and bear with one another’s faults and weaknesses, even when it’s hard.

As we practice forbearance in our relationships, we cultivate a culture of grace, mercy, and peace that honors God and blesses others.

Let us, therefore, strive to be forbearing in all aspects of our lives, and trust that God’s grace is sufficient to sustain us.

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