12 Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other. 14 And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
The apostle Paul trained to be a rabbi with the respected leader Gamaliel (cf. Acts 5:33-39, 22:3). It’s no surprise that, after he became an itinerant Christian preacher, he taught his Gentile converts the principles of speech and relationships found in Proverbs. But he added a powerful additional motive to his teaching: Jesus' example. “As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other,” he wrote.
Lord Jesus, please keep shaping me into a person of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Give me the grace to forgive as you’ve forgiven me. Amen.
My husband, Brandon, is wise, kind, patient, smart, and a fabulous cook. He’s an awesome dad, a generous soul, a thoughtful friend, and a terrific bass player. If you’re a regular reader of the insight blogs, you might recognize some of his wise words on every other Tuesday morning. I can go on and on about all of the great things about him, but… he’s not perfect. He has a severe sight deficiency. What do I mean by that? He’s not blind (or so he says), but there are things that I can see that somehow escape his line of vision. For example, let’s say that I ask him to wipe down the kitchen counters. He’ll wipe down the kitchen counters. Awesome. But when I go back into the kitchen, the counters are clean, but the stove top will have spills and crumbs all over it. I look at that and think, “Why on earth would he ever think that I would want the counters wiped down but not the stove top?!” “Kitchen counters” encompass all surfaces related to the counters, including the stove top. Am I right?!
Another example. Let’s say that I want to know if we have milk. I can ask Brandon if we have milk. He’ll open the refrigerator. If the milk is not in eyesight without him having to shift his head, then we have no milk. It doesn’t matter if it’s right behind the orange juice – which would only take some slight movement to see. With his sight deficiency, if the milk is not right up front, he doesn’t see it.
While not egregious, this sight deficiency of his has gotten under my skin for years. Because what it means is that if I want both the counter and the stove top wiped down, I must ask, “Will you please wipe down the kitchen counters and the stove top?” If I want to know if we have milk, I must ask, “Can you see if we have milk? It might be behind the orange juice.” Otherwise, he just won’t see it.
This inability to see what I find to be obvious is annoying, and there are days when I lose my patience and end up saying something snarky. But in recent years, I’ve come to learn that this “sight deficiency” applies to crumbs on the stove top, but it also applies to my shortcomings. I can sit here and tell you a hundred things that are wrong about me, but with Brandon’s sight deficiency, he doesn’t see them. Somehow, he’s able to look past all of my faults to love me as I am – even if I have a few spills and crumbs on me.
When we’re in a relationship with others, whether that be romantic, a friendship, a neighbor, or a coworker, it’s often easy to see the differences of others as bad. And there may be parts of those differences that are bad, but sometimes God hides unique gifts within one’s differences that allow them to shine where others can’t. So, the next time you’re annoyed by someone else, rather than letting it eat at your soul (which does you no good), take a moment to reflect on what unique gift might be hiding within that annoyance. That gift might just be the very blessing you need!
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