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The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love (Part 4. Love's Aspect - Forbearance)

Updated on February 22, 2017

Although this article is part of a series, it is a Complete study on its own. (4 of 9 in series)

* all [bracketed] words in Scripture verses are mine *

Love's Aspect Forbearance.

When I go to the movies, some of my favorites are ones that have elements where the "little" guy, the downtrodden, wins. You know the kind - where some sort of revenge is worked out. I can't help it, it appeals to me to see those who are hurt get vindicated and those who wronged them get their comeuppance. In the back of my mind, though, is the niggling thought that somehow love has been circumvented. I hear "vengeance is Mine sayeth the Lord" in my head. But in my flesh, it feels so good to put someone in their place, to teach a lesson. I love the humiliation given in the turnaround. The Lord is still working His will in my life and deals with me when I go down this road in my mind, or if I ever tried to do this thing for real. I know that His will is to practice long-suffering, especially toward my brothers in the faith. One can see this principle is getting less and less common, even in Christian circles. Teachers teach things contrary to the concept of forbearance. Many young people have no idea even what the word means. There are Christians that I know that think that long-suffering is wrong and no one should even give it credence. They see the concept at work as weakness.

"Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord." (Romans 12:19)

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35)

Of course, what I am referring to is the fourth facet of the fruit of the Spirit, what the Bible refers to as long-suffering. The word means patient endurance or forbearance. King Solomon said in Proverbs that a friend loveth at all times. There is no time when we are not to love. Sometimes love is easy, like when someone is nice to you, gives you a gift, or complements you. Sometimes, though, love is difficult or even seemingly impossible to envision. It just isn't natural for fleshly man to forgive and forget. The reason why is that forgiveness and forbearance is a work of the Holy Spirit. Only God can give the ability to love at all times because according to the Scripture, even your enemies are to be loved. 1 Corinthians 13 says that love "suffereth long" and "endures all things."

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." (Proverbs 17:17)

"Love...bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:7)

The literal interpretation of the root words for long-suffering is "to keep the breath even or keep the nostrils from flaring" (as in anger). The Bible does not say exactly how to implement this command, just to do it. God assumes that if you truly love, it will be one of those things that you will do naturally (through God). In fact, it is our command to look to God for the example of how long-suffering is to manifest itself. As one looks at the passage in Nehemiah, (Ne. 9:30-31) you see how sin sickened the Most Holy God, but "for many years didst thou forbear them" (or have patience with them). He endured the sin against Him for a long time. He pointed out their mistakes to them and allowed them to digest it and come to the conclusion that they were in the wrong. This is what is known as grace. Basically, He allowed people to be stupid, for a time. He reminded them of the sin and allowed them time to repent. During this time He "overlooked" or "winked at" the sin, was patient with the people, and allowed them the time to grow. This is how it will look to others as God loves through us. Then He will mete out justice in His own time and in His own way, and usually without our involvement at all.

"I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long-suffering, bearing with one another in love." (Ephesians 4:1-2)

"Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do." (Colossians 3:13)

"And for many years you had patience with them, and testified against them by your Spirit in your prophets. Yet they would not listen." (Nehemiah 9:30)

"Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31)

Long-suffering is not a martyr complex. Instead, it is extending grace in a super-human way as God loves through us. We know God has told us to hate the sin while we love the sinner. So how do we know how to treat the sinner separately from his poisonous actions? How do we show our love for him or her while at the same time not condoning or giving the impression that we condone the sin? God gives us the way, simply love, but we so enjoy doing things in the flesh. We really do, and that to our shame.

"I will set nothing wicked before my eyes. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me." (Psalms 101:3)

"This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all long-suffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life." (1 Timothy 1:15-16)

When people react in the flesh to sin, when long-suffering (love) is not practiced, there is a process that takes hold like a disease and begins to eat away and destroy. Without love in play, the result is judging of the person without really intending to do that. When we go down this road, we "find ourselves" in the midst of judging someone and then puzzling about how we got to the point of doing so. Almost right from the start of this process, in some part of the mind, we categorize the person who sins against us as not being able to change.

What Happens When Forbearance Is Not Shown?

We can list the steps as Forbearance is not shown.

1. Not loving the person that is sinning, but instead noting their sin only.

2. Holding resentments.

3. Withholding fellowship.

4. Secretly wishing bad to come to the one sinning.

5. Revenge.

Now let's look at each of these phases that happen in the absence of long-suffering.

1. Not Loving The Person Sinning But Instead Only Looking At Their Sin.

What happens first is one forgets to look at the person's soul but only at their sin. The thought process that comes is the thought of how repulsive the sin is to you or toward you, and elements of prideful arrogance begin to grow. "How could she do that?" "How could the person say that he is a Christian and be that way?" "See how this sin affects me?" "How do I stay clean and still be around this person?" "Should I not warn others to be as cautious as I?" "Shouldn't I do something to fix this?"

We human beings tend to think of everything we have, or everything we do, or everything we think, as priceless and remaining forever. In this flawed thinking resides some very petty values and actions. Instead of God, we become the center of our universe and can see nothing else as important, just us. Nothing else exists except everything we have, everything we do, everything we think. I heard a coined term that I really like and can't remember who said it. The term is "navel-gazer" and means someone that can't get over themselves to the point that everything revolves around their center, around their own belly button. They constantly make everything about themselves and will always look to see how everything affects them. They constantly stare at their own navel. Isn't that the coolest term you ever heard? I hate it when I do that. When someone slights me or I perceive that someone slights me, I need to remember that that person battles sin as do I. I need to grant them the grace God grants me, and that can only happen when I allow God to love through me. If I indeed have a good relationship with My Lord, I will be loving like He is.

2. Holding Resentments.

The next step is quick and happens sometimes simultaneously with the above attitude. Invariably, sinners around you will sin, and the sin will be against you or perceived to be against you. You begin taking offense. "How could she do that to me?" "Who does he think he is?" "She has no right to live like that, let alone hurt me!" That train of thought becomes the holding of resentments. "I'll give him one more chance, that's all he gets, then I'll have to do something!" "I'll tell him Scripture, I'll tell him what kind of sinner he is." Ironically, the sin that the person is doing is against you most likely is what you yourself are committing against others. When one battles sin in one's own life it causes a sensitivity when seeing it in others.

This step is common among Christians. When a person is offended or hurt in some manner, that person will many times keep to themselves, thinking he is forgiving the offender simply by not having blown up at the offending party. "If I don't talk to him, he's going to know that I'm hurt and he'll apologize." The truth is, the offended party is simply not allowing the matter into his conscious mind, but instead letting it fester in his subconscious. When it does resurface, the words or actions are allowed to replay again and again in his mind. Indeed, Satan loves to pounce on this very scenario.

A "righteous indignation" or should I say, "unrighteous indignation" forms. We forgive by using the "Strike one, strike two, strike three! You're out!" method. We think of that as long-suffering. I am reminded of the disciples asking Jesus how many times they were to forgive their brother - "up to seven times?" I'm sure they were feeling outrageously generous when saying seven as the total times to forgive their brother. Just imagine the look on their faces when the Master of the universe told them "seventy times seven" or 490 times for the same sin! The principle was clear. No one is supposed to count or keep track like that when they really love because love comes from God and He keeps the books.

"Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble." (Psalm 119:165)

"Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." (Matthew 18:21-22 see also Luke 17:3-4) [The disciple's reaction] "And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." (Luke 17:5)

3. Keeping Account Of Hurts.

Springing up from holding resentments is another tendency common to all. We start letting the offense grow and we build on it until there is a list of sins (or perceived sins) and the start of a "root of bitterness." They rehearse the list in their minds, highlighting how it hurts or how it is somehow worse than the last incident. The enemy's objective being for us to accumulate resentment and have it turn into prideful hate. Sometimes a person will try to reason away the sin by saying, "That person just doesn't like me- so I don't like him." He may try in the flesh to approach or make a fresh start but inevitably the offense will "play" again in her mind or the person will err again and there will be no healing.

Imagine the account of hurts kept by Cain against his brother Abel. I am sure that Abel, a godly man, said to his brother, "Cain, how can you sacrifice fruits from a ground that is cursed? Only a blood sacrifice will do." Cain's reasoning was perhaps, that Abel had an attitude because God loved his brother's profession and hated Cain's. "I've worked hard to get the ground to produce fruits and vegetables. Doesn't that count for anything?" You can almost hear him thinking, "Abel thinks he is so good. He mocks me. He judges me. This offense is more than I can bear." We all know where his sin led him- to murder.

"Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, "I have acquired a man from the Lord." Then she bore again, [a twin] this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of the flock, and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it." Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him [butchered him like a sacrifice]." (Genesis 4:1-8)

3. Withholding Fellowship.

The next degenerative step is avoiding the person altogether. Withholding fellowship is sinful, weakening the whole body of Christ. We are to forbear one another, not avoid one another. But it's the easier way, even the cowardly way, to avoid rather than to be long-suffering. Withholding fellowship is withholding love.

In Jesus' parable of the prodigal son (a story told to illustrate a point - probably not based on an actual case), He told of the faithful older brother who loved his Father but I believe was offended and keeping account of "wrongs" suffered at the hand of his brother and father. I believe that the son felt used and noted the extra work that fell to him because of his wayward brother who had departed to party and enjoy life while he dutifully worked for his dad. When all of a sudden, the brother returns and the father throws him a party. He refuses to come to the party because he believes he's been slighted and resents his brother. He also resents his father and accuses Him of favoritism. The charges against the dad were many in his mind. His response to it all is to withdraw his fellowship from his brother and father.

"Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, "Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf." But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, "Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him." And he said to him, "Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found." (Luke 15:25-32)

4. Secretly Wishing Bad.

Thoughts of hatred and ill will can be Scripturally equated with murder. "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer." Satan loves to remind us of wrongs made against us so as to promote hatred. When does hate begin? faster than you think. It begins in the heart with thoughts of evil and revenge. The beginnings of hatred manifest itself in the recesses of the mind, in the seat of motivation known as the heart. A person will find himself wishing trials and pain to come into the life of someone because that person has offended him. The mind plays intricate scenarios, the end of which is the humiliation and pain that the offended party now believes should come against the offender. It is that same humiliation that I find myself relating to at the movies. This is evil.

The Spirit, on the other hand, wishes to give us the power to love despite wrongs done to us. Wishing evil on our brother and even to our enemies is expressly forbidden. The Bible says that rejoicing at calamities and wishing harm will anger God and cause the very opposite thing to happen. It will cause blessings to be poured on the ones who wronged you and mercy to those who make themselves your enemy. We are not even to think such thoughts. It will lead to even greater sin in us.

"Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." (1 John 3:15)

"But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man." (Matthew 15:18-20)

"Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the Lord see it and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him." (Proverbs 24:17-18)

5. Revenge.

Of course, those who start down this path and get to this point will say that this is not where they wanted to go. They would have sworn that it would not get to this point. But alas, it has arrived. Everyone is capable of great sin, any sin, once they get to this point. Don't think,"Oh I could never murder, I could never rape or any serious sin like that. Once we give away this much of our judgment and control over to the flesh and Satan, anything is possible.

"Revenge is sweet" goes the saying. They that say that, are wrong. Revenge will eat you up inside. It can consume you until you lose sight of everything important in life, or it will change you into someone capable of any kind of sin or crime you can imagine. Lying, stealing, assaults, murder, character assassination - anything.

"Do not say, "I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work." (Proverbs 24:29)

Learning To Practice Long-suffering

"Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:19-21)

1. Be Filled With The Spirit.

As with all facets of love, only God can enable you to be long-suffering toward someone that has hurt or offended you in some way. Without Holy Spirit empowerment, you will begin to avoid, hate, and hurt back. It's just sinful, human nature. And human nature is what we want to suppress. We want God's nature controlling us. That is what is known as being filled with the Spirit. God wants to motivate the thoughts, motivations, actions, objectives, and goals. He wants to suppress the lusts and self-centeredness. If allowed, He will enable us to see others through His eyes. We see others as imperfect works in progress. We cut will them a break. We love them.

"And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation [excess]; but be filled [controlled] with the Spirit." (Ephesians 5:18)

"That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit to the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height - to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us." (Ephesians 3:16-19)

2. Trust God.

Learning to trust God is pivotal. We have a tendency to want to fix all our problems ourselves. Part of the equation present when taking care of your own hurts yourself is that the flesh does not trust God to do it. In your mind, either God isn't real enough or God isn't competent enough to handle it. Let God take vengeance if that is required. Trust Him to make it right. He is a Just God. Let Him take care of you. If you intervene, the Scriptures above say that you effect how God deals with fixing it. Not only are you unable to fix it, but God who is able may just take His time doing it, all because of your sin and your lack of forbearance.

"Do not say, 'I will recompense evil'; wait for the Lord, and He will save you." (Proverbs 20:22)

3. Vow To Love, No Matter What.

Jesus led the way, showing that one could love, unconditionally, by simply letting God love through you. He said, "love your enemies...pray for them who despitefully use you." He left no exceptions so you can't point your finger and say, "Except for that guy." It is possible to love like that, but only with God's help. Consider Jesus with regard to Judas. Remember that little verse that said that Jesus offered Judas the sop at the Last Supper meal? Don't lightly pass over that verse. The sop (knish) was the choicest morsel traditionally given to the one the host loved the most. Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, for He knew the hearts of men. He chose him and loved him from the start. Jesus gave Judas all of Himself and a chance for salvation. Jesus loved Judas right to the end where He offered the sop, one last chance. Jesus' offer of salvation was rejected. Then Satan entered Judas and he betrayed Christ and then committed suicide. Our Master gave us the model. Love unto the end and God will sort out the end.

"I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled. He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me. Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He"... "Jesus answered, 'It is he to whom I shall give a piece a bread when I have dipped it [knish].' And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, 'What you do, do quickly.'" (John 13:18-19, 26-27)

"Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me." (Psalm 41:9)

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (1 John 4:7-8)

4. Learn patience.

Long-suffering means patient forbearance. Patience is learned behavior acquired at great cost and usually through a great deal of pain. The more mature you are, the more you will be expected to have learned patience in your daily walk. Patient forbearance will deliver you from things that will cause you suffering, things that you could have avoided. When you learn to forbear your brother's sin so that it does not stumble you, you have won a great battle with your flesh.

"And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance [patience]." (Roman 5:3)

To sum it all up in a nut shell, people are going to be stupid. People are going to sin. You are a people. You will be stupid and you will sin. You would wish others to cut you a break when you make mistakes or act rashly, so you do likewise. Learn to love people and they will learn to love you. See them as God sees them. Be filled with the Spirit so God can minimize the hurt their sin will cause you and minimize your sin that will hurt them. Pray without ceasing. Serve the Lord and let Him guide you. The result is that you will be at peace with all men and when there is a situation, don't let it bother you. God keeps the books and He will take care of the situation. Cast your cares upon Him and let Him guide your paths and you will be blessed.

Perhaps you were taught that you must do all your own fighting. Perhaps you are having a hard time digesting this message. You may never have asked Jesus into your heart and therefore cannot envision anyone doing what has been suggested be done in a situation where you are hurt. Well, I assure you this is what God says to do. Perhaps the reason that it seems so foreign to you is because the Holy Spirit is not reassuring you of its truth. Perhaps you need to receive Jesus and be empowered to do the things that the Bible says to do. It is easy to ask Christ into your heart. All that is required is to believe that Jesus is the Christ that came to die for your sin. If you see your own sin and cry out to God to save you, He will hear and come into your heart and be with you forever. Pray this:

Dear Lord Jesus, I see my sin and I know that I need a Savior. I believe that You were God in human flesh that came to bleed and die for my sin. I believe in Your death, burial, and resurrection. I cry out to You to save me from my sin and come live in my heart. I turn now from my life of sin and turn to You as the only Way of salvation. Thank You for hearing me for I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Others in this series of independent articles:

The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love: ( Part 1. The Presence And Work Of The Holy Spirit)

The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love (Part 2. Love's Aspect - Joy)

The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love (Part 3. Love's Aspect - Peace)

The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love (Part 5. Love's Aspect - Gentleness)

The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love (Part 6. Love's Aspect - Goodness)

The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love (Part 7. Love's Aspect - Faith)

The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love (Part 8. Love's Aspect - Meekness)

The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love (Part 9. Love's Aspect - Temperance)


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    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Jimmy my brother. I love ya to pieces. I gotta tell ya the truth. I read what I write and it sounds like me. Then I have to start again. Sometimes I rewrite things 20 or more times until it "flows" which means it doesn't sound like me anymore. Then I know it is right because it isn't me. Truthfully, a time or two I have lost a particular piece of writing that I finished and was never able to write it again because I could not get back what was not mine in the first place. Nothing is written fast. The idea goes down fast but that's so I won't forget what God has shown me. But how to say it eludes me for a long time time until I get myself out of the way. Anyway, that is my confession, my brother. Sounds hokey I know but that is the truth. You are always a blessing to me. Bob.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      I love this essay, Brother Bob. Never have I seen long-suffering explicated so well. You are a gifted teacher. The Lord has blessed you with this gift, as well as monumental powers of observation and discernment. You are a blessing in turn to the HubPages Community.

      Faithfully Yours,


    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      8 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Jeremy bless you for saying so. I suppose that means that you got blessed for reading it and that God is glorified. If that happened, I am not only happy but content. Much love, Bob.

    • jeremytorres profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow, great article.

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      9 years ago from Rochester, New York

      You know I love you, DeBby. You do point out things that get me to think about what I've written. It serves to teach the teacher and edify the edifier. I thank your wonderful husband for sharing you and allowing the time to help give us God's wisdom.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      9 years ago

      Bro Bob, Again this is a wonderful hub because it serves to do just what I believe you intended? To get us all to think about where we are in terms of allowing the "Fruit of The Spirit" to flourish in our lives.

      We are living in some very interesting times in these "Last Days" Therefore I am quite mindful of the things that took place around the "Last Days of Jesus Christ!" Since we are to "walk in His WAY" we can expect some of the very same treatment! Notice how relentlessly they pursued Jesus with such vigor to discredit His good and genuine intentions, notice how they sought to slander His good name. They may not crucify us on a cross today, they have gotten too clever and much more sophisticated with all the modern technology. Like then, they did not come out in the open they lurked in the dark and used others and paid someone who had gotten close to Jesus for all the wrong reasons to betray Him...

      God is so Awesome we must ask for His discernment in order to navigate through the many landmines that have been strategically placed in our lives since day one to dim the Light He has placed within us and detour us from the path He has designed for us! Spiritual warfare is real in the life of a believer! Life is really about us discovering Him and His purpose in our lives... Trusting and KNOWING GOD is FAITHFUL!

      Through Pastoral Counselor I have learned and continue to learn to listen with my heart! My heart belongs to the LORD! In order to be helpful you must hear what is not being said and ask for verification of anything that is not true... This is how emotional healing comes about... For some this can be scarey; So instead they use drugs or alcohol or... this quiets the inner voice and serves to dim the Light from shining from within... which really leads to inner PEACE! Many of God's children/sheep are wandering "The TRUTH really does set you Free!"

      Hmmm I never really thought about it in terms of being "things the writer did not see..." I think this is such a great article because it helps to "draw out" TRUTH! Much Love & Blessings...

      Thank you my brother for sharing this wonderful insightful hub! I pray that it will help many more to diligently seek ways to allow the "Fruit of the Spirit" to flourish in their lives......

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      9 years ago from Rochester, New York

      For my sister DeB: I love the way you always go through a hub and see things that the writer didn't even see. When you reach out to help the

      "little guy" I'm sure you aren't acting as judge, jury and executioner. I can see you using the fruit of the Guiding Spirit to give wisdom and a hand to the downtrodden. It's a natural fleshly thing to mete out justice as WE see fit. The only punishment that is to be met out according to Scripture is when the "higher authorities", gov't and such, mete it out, placed in their positions to do so by God. Also there are parents who are to mete out discipline to their children, swift and at times severe to keep them from hell. Both are given their authority to do so by God. What does trip me out, is when the authorities and parents use their flesh and don't use wisdom to punish and discipline. Then I guess God keeps the books and will avenge in His own way. Yes I like the term "navel gazer". My navel is my flesh's favorite place to look. That part of me would be happy to never, ever look away. I realize there are people who use forgiveness of others as a licence to sin but when you consider "how often" we are to forgive we really are concerned with God's business when we keep accounts of wrongs.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      9 years ago

      Nobody, This is a thought provoking Hub! Many wonderful lessons here! I think taking a personal inventory on a regular basis is great! You can see if you are responding in a way that is pleasing to the Lord! I Believe that there is always from for improvement!

      I thought it was interesting about your example of the "little guy" winning... Hmmm I must say I have reached out many times and helped those no one else would... I was not on some ego trip. I just really do not enjoy seeing anyone mistreated. I also learned that often your "meeekness" will be seen as weakness... Therefore I have learned that there are really those who will as you say "try to rip your heart out." In my mind I really wish we all could get along. But for some they need the fuss, fight, make up rollercoaster and will do just about anything to pull you in to keep it going. Here is where you learn to exericse patience and longsuffering. When this is the case I do think you do need to sometimes disengage or else you too become a part of that often vicious cycle... You do have to learn how to guard your heart or it can literally drain you!

      The example of the navel-gazer is great! Is kind of like the "why me syndrome!" I really think that you have made some really good points here! That can be used to bring about balance which is key!

      I Think that instead of getting "bitter we should get better!" There really is something to praying for those who spitefully use you! Revenge is never good... The WORD of God is powerful and OH! So true!

      When we talk about forgiveness we also must visit repentance. For some they use the seven times seventy as a license to sin against you..." You know I am this way or that and since you are so patient... This is why we so need to ask for the infilling presence of the Holy Spirit because at any given time we can err when we are not centered! This way we better learn when to or not to respond in Love! There are those who seek to manipulate you just so they can see what makes you tick. They try to entrap you! They want to push your buttons. This is not God's Way. Therefore I believe it is best not to respond when you know this is so and that they really are just trying too provoke you rather than learn any TRUTH...

      Nobody Again you have made many wonderful points here... I think this one is will be good to refer to from time to time! What's most important is to "overcome evil with good!" Thank you so much my brother for sharing, Much love & Blessings!

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      9 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Thank you so much for the comment my sister. I trust you are having a merry Christmas and holiday season. Much love and blessing today and always.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      "What happens first is one forgets to look at the person's soul, but only at their sin." this is so key to it all. If I can't see the person God created then I become blind to the rest. Good food for thought and a wonderful outline for change and hope in how we treat others by practicing patience.

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      10 years ago from Rochester, New York

      I love it when I encourage the encourager. We all have a temper and a "last nerve". I know that most of us try to be loving in all we say, even in our rebukes, but our enemy knows when we are at wits end. He knows us well but he will be counting on us being in the flesh and not in the Spirit. That'll fix 'em. We will walk in the Spirit and we will not give place to the flesh or to the Ol' Lizard. We will pray in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit and rejoice in the Spirit and rebuke and teach in the Spirit. That'll fix 'em good. I love you to pieces!!!!

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      10 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Love you too, Tammy. I think if we got what we deserved we'd be in hell, right now. But we will get His grace and mercy and riches in glory and sonship and crowns and more than we can even imagine. We ought to keep this in mind when we want others to tow the line and give em a break. Thank you so much for always being a friend.

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      10 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Thank you TimeH.A. Forbearance is hard. It's when we are not in the Spirit. When we are doing things in the flesh when people seem to be stupid. It's so hard to be understanding when you are being stupid yourself. So it's always a good idea to take a deep breath and pause for about a half minute before saying anything. Or ask for a Twix timeout. You know when all is not well. At least that is what I do. Most of the time it helps not to be so emotional. Sometimes nothing helps. love you too sister.

    • Judah's Daughter profile image

      Judah's Daughter 

      10 years ago from Roseville, CA

      Very nice hub, brother. There is a balance in the Word that if our brother sins against us, we are to rebuke him; and if he repents, we are to forgive him. The place in between is to be angry, but do not sin in our anger. We are an example of Who Christ is in the way we treat others. I love the passage that states that one who lays a trap for another will fall into it himself. What you said about God turning His wrath upon US when we try to avenge ourselves was quite inspirational. For, the Enemy now will have taken ahold of our own spirit and we become the one needing the discipline of the Lord. However, if we remain obedient and trust Him to deal with our "enemies" in His way (the first being the fact that we will not wrong them ~ so they become aware that any discipline is truly from the Lord), we can rest assured that His way will bring them to repentance ~ to Him first and ultimately to us. Father knows BEST. Amen!

    • Tammy Bruner profile image

      Tammy Bruner 

      10 years ago

      Thanks for the reminder on his mercy. That is the one thing we should thank Him for every minute of every day. If we all got what we deserved when we deserved it what a miserable life we would have. That is a good concept for us to follow when we feel someone has wronged us. God will deal with them in his own time, and our mercy is to not give them what we feel they deserve which in turn is our saving grace.

      You always help me work things out in my heart and mind. Now to follow them is a daily task with Gods help every minute. Love ya ;)

    • TimeHealsAll profile image

      Vicky Gentry 

      10 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Well expressed no body! Do not rejoice when your enemy fails because we are all members of the body of Christ. For if one falls, we all fall. For if our brother fails, we fail as well. If we hate our brother it is as if we did it to God. What we bind here on earth will be bound in heaven. Have patience with your brother and longsuffering. Trust that God will strengthen you in the process. Keep your sights on the lord and do not take your eyes off for a minute. Jesus endured longsuffering and never took his eyes off of God because he loves us THAT much. Our longsuffering will be GREAT as well but for Jesus our rewards will be GREAT in heaven. Blessing to you my brother!!!

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      10 years ago from Rochester, New York

      When I say I love you to my brothers and sisters, I mean it. I have been given a great gift to be able to give affection to others but it comes with a price. A pastor friend of mine told me that with the gift of love comes much pain and sorrow. They seem to go hand in hand. I can reach past people hurting me but if I try it in the flesh those same folks can rip the heart right out of your body. Not everyone thinks like I do. I am one weird dude, I know but I love it that you stop by and comment. I love it that you confirm the writings, I love knowing that I will be loving my spiritual family forever. I do love you.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Thanks no body for keeping it real. I know that I struggle too at times with the kind of "love" christ expects from us. ((Loving Unconditionally)). Living in such a Narcissistic society, it's easy to fall prey to this type of thinking. I'm always having to keep a check on my attitude and motives. Thanks again for your humble posts! Blessings!!

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      10 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Thank you. I am troubled by the lack of forbearance in me sometimes. I know that what God wants from me is to love at all times. It's not as easy to do as it is to say. People are just not all that loveable. It isn't natural to the sinner to be able to be loving or loveable all the time. We grouse, we grump. We care then we don't. I try to give myself to God moment to moment and leave it up to my acquaintances to tell me how loving I am.

    • no body profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert E Smith 

      10 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Judas was used by Satan. Satan filled his heart with bitterness over Jesus not being the conquering hero he thought he was to take over Rome right away. I don't think that he thought that Jesus would be killed. I do think that he was bitter and angry. He listened to what the enemy said to him and was convinced betrayal was the best way. Then after it was done Satan did one of his favorite tricks. He pulled all of his convincing away to give a grave sense of remorse. It was more than the zealot could take and he took the suggestion from the devil to kill himself. Satan was in possession of him and there was no will to be saved from his fate. His forgiveness is grace as well as His mercy in not immediately giving us what we deserve but allowing us time to change. Love ya Tam.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Very well expressed and written! I don't think there is ever an unlimited way of presenting the Fruit of The Spirit. Each time I read other's commentary I see a new twist or angle on Scripture, not distorting Scripture in anyway, but presenting the message from a new viewpoint. There is definitely a Religious spirit controlling many Christian's lives and attitudes, and I can see the evidence of this in your portrayal of Forbearance. Many idealize themselves, as if lifted atop a pedestal because of their "Christian Faith," but the truth is, those who hold grudges and bitterness are only hurting themselves as the root of bitterness begins to build up and grow within the mind of the accuser. Imaginations take over and before long they have opened a stronghold to the devil. Great Hub!! I enjoyed your commentary very much!

    • Tammy Bruner profile image

      Tammy Bruner 

      10 years ago

      Blessings to you for another hub that speaks straight to the heart, one that lets me know I am not the only one fighting that battle. I have come to realize that Love=Peace and to not love is to know no peace.

      I wonder if Judas had not of committed suicide if Jesus would have told the disciples to fetch him as he did Peter after Peter denied him three times. I believe he would have. Our Lord forgives us over and over and to me that is what Grace is.


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