By Jill Briscoe
With all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love. ~ Ephesians 4:2
Are you good at making allowances for people? Or do you have ridiculously high expectations?
Our lives should say, “I make allowances for people,” for this is the language of love. Forbearance is a divine quality. Romans 11:4 talks of the “forbearance of God”; Phillips translates the verse, “making allowances for one another, because ye love one another”; Moffatt says, “Forbearance is related to patience.” This means I should hold back my quick judgment, and should not evaluate or dissect people’s motives.
What a challenge to walk through life like this! Are we making allowances for our teen-agers, for example? I remember Pete, our youngest, growing daily right out of his socks – at fourteen years of age he was six feet four inches tall. Quite an achievement over such a small amount of time! But I didn’t make allowances for his grand accomplishments! His schoolwork zeroed; around the house he was lazy and undisciplined; he couldn’t be bothered even to pretend he wanted to go to church anymore! “No wonder,” laughed the wise counselor I resorted to in deep distress. “He’s put everything he’s got into blood and bones and height!” I got the point and made allowances.
Bishop H.C. Moule has said that forbearance is “allowing for each other’s frailties and mistakes; aye, when they turn and wound you ‘in love,’ finding it easy to see with their eyes and if need be to take sides with them against yourselves!” That’s making allowances!