Sunday, July 28, 2019

Allowances Made

Allowances Made
July 29, 2019
Colossians 3:13  "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

Paul was writing to the new churches, one specially to the Colossians. He was encouraging them in how they should be living their lives as transformed and empowered Christians. His list was not a set of commandments, rather a list or encouragements that radically challenged their current lifestyle. Their original lifestyle, similar to many today, was internally focused. He challenged them to not only focus on Christ but to focus on others. He said they (we) are to bear with each other and forgive each other. This is not a new topic for those who have been a Christian any length of time. We are to forgive others as Christ has forgiven us. But the first part of Paul's statement was to bear with each other. 

The word used to describe bearing with someone else is only found in another instance in Scripture and the meaning connotes making an allowance for someone else. This allowance is knowingly working with a persons weaknesses and personality faults and making a way for them in your relationship with them. Paul was not suggesting we should put up with someone's abuse but he was saying that people are not going to be perfect and you get to put up with all their personality flaws. We tend to view people with personal weaknesses and personality flaws and then judge their Christianity. If they were a perfect Christian, then they would be overcoming those completely obvious personality flaws. Unfortunately, there is not perfect Christian, and the Lord works on people at a different pace than your or me, sometimes. 

Paul said we are to make room for people's quirks and idiosyncrasies and known weaknesses, because sometimes those weaknesses may never change. Some weaknesses a person has can never be fixed. If someone is not creative or imaginative, and lives in concrete mental boxes sometimes, judging them for not thinking outside the box is not a fair trial. Some people are good at relationships and others are good at math. There is no optimum blend of skill sets and strengths. It would be a flawed request to ask a mathematician to work as a relationship counselor, that is not how the Lord makes people. But the Lord gifted the mathematician just as much as He gifted the elementary school teacher. There is room for both, including all the styles of personalities out there. Paul said we are to make room for the way people are, extra room for grace in working with them because they are not perfect. You are not perfect either, far from it; and people make allowances for you quite often. We tend to think we are the only one giving in a relationship or putting up with another's flaws and weaknesses. The Lord said to get along and pad the room for someone's known shortcomings.

Paul did not say to put up with blatant sin, but he did say to work with someone in spite of their weaknesses. No one is perfect. Jesus, even though He was perfect, did have an unique personality style that may not have meshed with everyone perfectly. His style may not have been easy to digest initially, and working with Jesus was not always easy. People bring their own insecurities and style to the table, and maybe it isn't the other person that needs the allowances. Make allowances for others, so  you can get along with them. Pad the clock to work with their schedule. Pad the grace bank to work with their personality. Pad the level of forgiveness to compensate for their little slip ups. People have to do this for you more often than you realize. Allowances have been made, do likewise.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Ps 103:12, Eph 4:2 & 32, Col 3:13-23

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