How to have Forbearance {Fruits of the Spirit}

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, 
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23

I won't lie, I had to look up "forbearance" to get a good clear look at what it meant.  In case you are in the same boat the definition says "patient self-control; restraint and tolerance.  The action of refraining from exercising a legal right".

I found it interesting that one fruit would be nestled into another fruit like that.  Not only are we called to have self-control, but to have patient self-control

I think that just may be a handy thing to have this time of year considering that everyone is operating out of every one of their emotions and that results in a big, fat mess.  

It is hard.  I have a very difficult time at times with being patient with people I cannot discipline.  You know, with your children, if they do something wrong, discipline can put in place to help correct the situation and hopefully, with some time and love, things will get better.

You can't do that with adults.  So how do we make it through the day without wanting to strangle someone or lose our salvation? Adults will behave worse than children more often than we would hope and we have to learn to operate around that in such a way that our lives are minimally altered because of it.  We don't want to allow anything to externally control our emotions.

Thankfully, patient self-control is a fruit of walking with Him.  He is the answer.  He is our hope for enduring bad behavior.  And the discipline that we need to persevere? Constant re-centering ourselves in Him.  A constant thought train in our minds that reminds us that we, too, are adults that can behave poorly at times, that we are sinners as well, that we all, generally, suck as human beings. 

That takes a lot of strength to do.  Developing forbearance takes a lot of self-reflection. 

Allow me some internal dialogue: 

"That guy is being such a jerk" - I have definitely been a jerk before, I will choose forgiveness.

"That girl is lying about me on purpose" - She is maybe hurting about something that has nothing to do with you.  I have definitely done things out of hurt before.  I will choose forgiveness.

"That person is getting away with something!" God sees and knows ALL.  There is no such thing as "getting away with something", how many times have my sins caught up with me?  I will choose forgiveness.

There are not many things being done TO us that we have not done ourselves, if we are being honest.  As simple as it seems, just reminding ourselves of a couple of simple things will help us develop the kind of patient self-control we should be pining for:

1) Everyone is a sinner.
2) God loves them anyway and so should we. 

{Note that this is not conditional nor does is condone behavior.  We are just choosing to let God be God and us, to not.  Forgiveness is not letting someone else off the hook, but letting ourselves off the hook.}

It takes a lot of work and diligent repetition but we get there, bit by bit.  The first step is the choice, just keep coming back to that. 

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