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Forbearance is a word which has been almost dropped from our vocabulary. It means to abstain from condemning others, to refrain from judging the actions and motives of those about us. The Bible says, “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2, KJV).
Our culture is quick with the deadly thrust but slow with the ointment of healing. The harsh criticism of others and unfair appraisals of those about us may hurt them, but it hurts us more. The unjust condemnation of others has a boomerang effect. When people hurl vindictive indictments with the hope of crippling others, they will soon discover that they have hurt themselves more.
Many a person is lonely today because he has driven away others by his own bitterness and harsh words. Many a wife has discovered that scolding and nagging will never win a husband but often result in a divorce situation. Some people go through life with a chip on their shoulder, carrying hurts and resentments over things that were said or done decades ago. Like a poison, their bitterness has made not only their own lives miserable but the lives of those around them. They have never learned the secret of forgiveness and forbearance.
The Bible instructs us to be on guard “lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15, KJV), but it does not mean that we excuse sin and call evil good. Meekness and forbearance are “musts” if we are to live harmoniously in society and if we want to build a happy family life. Man cannot be happy as long as he magnifies the faults of others and minimizes their virtues. The Bible says, “Speak evil of no man… but [be] gentle, showing all meekness unto all men” (Titus 3:2, KJV).