“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.”
God adds two more characteristics in verse 13 to demonstrate the social virtues of verse 12 in action. First, “bearing with one another.” This character builder is the sixth garment with which the Christian is to clothe himself.
God wants us to bear with others with the attitudes of verse 12. The words “bearing with” signify to hold up against a thing and so to bear with (Matt. 17:7; 1 Cor. 4:12; 2 Cor. 11:1, 4, 19, 20; Heb. 13:22, etc.). “Bearing with” means to be patient with in the sense of enduring difficulty (Eph 4:2). God wants us to have enough character in an adverse situation with people to hold ourselves back from the temptation to let loose and fly at them. This self-control is noble self-restraint.
“Bear with” means to put up with someone carrying the ideas of bear and forebear. God expects us to endure lovingly with one another person’s failures. Love gives others latitude when they fail. That is how husbands and wives get along together for the long haul.
Forbearance gives latitude to the failings of other people.
For human beings to live together under duress, there must be latitude with each other. What produces latitude? Love that can flex; love; love that gives space to others. We would not normally endure such behavior with others, but love enables us to bear with their provocations. We lovingly forbear.
There is no forbearance when there is no love. There is no love where people are rigid and do not give an inch. God has not appointed us to remake others. If they are not going to change, we must lovingly bear with their personalities or their lack of it. We lovingly put up with their idiosyncrasies. They have a few queer quirks, but so do we.
If we do not love others with their quirks, there will be nothing but friction. It is the principle that obtains between husbands and wives. They lovingly put up with one another. Certain things get on each other’s nerves, but love provides lubrication so that they can grant latitude with one another. They overlook a great many things because there is love between them. If there is no love, friction will become so abrasive that the marriage will split apart.
Those who “bear with” others lovingly put up with their peculiarities. We all have some quirks; all of us have our idiosyncrasies. But we are so close to our peculiarities that they do not seem peculiar. We despise in others the same peculiarities that we have ourselves. We can recognize them in others, but we have a blind spot to them in ourselves. Love enables the wife to overlook that her husband has two left feet. If we had a good grasp of our foibles, we could give room for the defects of others.
Some people want to oversee everyone; they want to control their lives. Instead, God expects us to overlook their frailties and leave the situation to Him. Love will enable us to ignore the shortcomings of others.