Endure One Another
When I was growing up in southwestern Pennsylvania, soccer and track were my two high school sports. Preseason training for both was grueling. My soccer coach started practice with a five mile run, and he and my track coach must have read the same training books. They were teaching and building endurance in me, because a short sprint would never make me a successful athlete. As Paul continued to describe the new life of God's chosen ones, he commanded that we put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience in our relationships with each other (Col. 3:12). In verse 13, he added that we should bear with one another. Another translation words it "enduring one another." Christ expects His people to relate to each other Christianly, not just for a short sprint but for the duration of our time together. No matter how personality quirks might exasperate us, immaturities annoy us, misunderstandings frustrate us, or sins damage us, God requires us to endure with one another for the long run. We get along with almost anyone for short periods of time. The true test of our Christian bond comes over the long haul. The nature of indwelling sin, coupled with the demand to be intimately connected to one another, means that insults, irritations, and offenses will be part of our church life. Will you tire of bearing with the faults and foibles of your brothers and sisters quickly, or will you bear with one another with marathon endurance?