Each of us has a story of forbearing or tolerating a sibling, neighbor or co-worker. Last year, I was our HOA (Home Owner’s Association) Curb Inspector which means I inspected yards monthly to see that they were in compliance with the HOA’s guidelines. After sending warning letters, I would receive intolerant emails in which I would need to respond with patience and kindness. It was a stretching experience for me, but I think I grew in forbearance in the process.
What is Forbearance?
“Forbearance can be seen as patience or tolerance. There are levels of tolerance. One can tolerate a person and not tolerate what is done. One could forbear with him while he is trying to repent. Another is ‘self-restraint,’ which is holding back the self from doing a thing that one may come to regret. Another is ‘mildness,’ suggesting that one is mild rather than harsh in judgment or reaction. All these give us an idea, a glimpse, into how broad the application of forbearance is.” [Ritenbaugh]
Forbearance is “indulgence towards those who injure us; delay of resentment or punishment; patience.” [Webster]
“Forbearance is basically synonymous with patience. Forbearance is restraining oneself under provocation, while patience is simply being uncomplaining or resigned through discomfort.” [Taylor]
“To forbear is to holdback or abstain; forbearance is akin to patience and self-control. Forbearance usually refers to a godly character trait. God shows forbearance by holding back judgment the world deserves. The fact that God is so forbearing in judging the world [can help] us to forbear [in judging] others. Forbearance is a quality God holds in high regard. ” [GQ]
Biblical Thoughts on Forbearance
“Bearing with one another describes the patience we [are to] have with the failings and odd ways of [others]. In living with others, it is inevitable that we will find out their failures. It often takes the grace of God for us to put up with the idiosyncrasies of others, as it must for them to put up with ours. But we must bear with one another. [MacDonald 2059]
“Rather than destroying every person the moment he or she sins, God graciously holds back His judgment. He saves sinners in a physical and temporal way from what they deserve, to show them His saving character that they might come to Him and receive salvation that is spiritual and eternal.” [MacArthur 1509]
“Put on forbearance. God is forbearing toward sinners in that He holds back His judgment. Gentleness, patience and forbearance go together.” [Wiersbe 687]
“None of these attributes of Christian virtue is easy to ‘put on’ – but all of these attributes are reflective of Jesus’ nature and character. He is our role model. The Spirit dwells within us to produce the character traits of Christ Jesus if we are willing both to ask and to pursue these virtues. Longsuffering and bearing with one another. Our human patience is to be a reflection of God’s patience. To the degree that God ‘suffers long’ on our behalf, we are to be patient with others.” [Blackaby 58]
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a [sacrifice] in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-26)
Love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7)
And to the Colossians, Paul champions, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so must you do also. In addition to all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14)
Being a family member is hard no matter where you are. It’s hard to be a kid. It’s hard to be a parent. It’s hard to be a brother or sister. It takes patience and kindness and forbearance. ~Dianne Wiest
Forbearance is a form of generosity. ~Gretchen Rubin
There is not a person we employ who does not, like ourselves, desire recognition, praise, gentleness, forbearance, patience. ~Henry Ward Beecher
Pity and forbearance should characterize all acts of justice. ~Benjamin Franklin
The last, best fruit which comes to late perfection, even in the kindliest soul, is tenderness toward the hard, forbearance toward the unforbearing, warmth of heart toward the cold, philanthropy toward [those who hate or mistrust mankind]. ~Jean Paul (Pseudonym of Johann Paul Fredrich Richter)
Mankind was my business…charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. ~Charles Dickens
He thought of the virtues of courage and forbearance, which become flabby when there is nothing to use them on. ~ John Steinbeck
Key Principle – We are encouraged to live our life in Christ and to ‘put on’ or to ‘clothe ourselves’ with: a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, forgiveness and love.
If you would like to read more about the garments we put on
- Kindness – One of 8 Garments We Wear Kindness – One of 8 Garments to Wear – Strength with Dignity
- Humility – One of 8 Garments We Wear Humility – One of 8 Garments to Wear – Strength with Dignity
- Gentleness – One of 8 Garments We Wear Gentleness – One of 8 Garments to Wear – Strength with Dignity
Blackaby, Henry, Richard, Thomas, Melvin & Norman. Encounters with God: Colossians/Philemon. Copyright 2008, page 58.
MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Thomas Nelson, 2005, page 1509.
MacDonald, William. Believer’s Bible Commentary. Thomas Nelson, 2016, page 2059.
New American Standard Bible. Copyright 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.
Taylor, Lauren. Patience and Forbearance – Fruit of the Spirit. Published June 23, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2021 from https://laurentaylor.blog/patience-and-forbearance-fruit-of-the-spirit/
Webster 1828 Dictionary. Retrieved June 8, 2021 from http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/forbearance
What does the Bible say about forbearance? Got Questions [GQ]. Retrieved June 10, 2021 from https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-forbearance.html
Ritenbaugh, Richard T. What the Bible says about Forbearance (From Forerunner Commentary). Retrieved June 10, 2021from https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/1372/Forbearance.htm
Wiersbe, Warren B. The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: The Complete New Testament. Published by David C. Cook, 2007, page 687.
Quotes – Retrieved June 10, 2021 from https://www.quotemaster.org/Forbearance and https://www.azquotes.com/quotes/topics/forbearance.html and https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/forbearance