“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” —Colossians 3:13 (NIV)
I love this short exhortation from Ignatius of Antioch (he was a late first century bishop of the Christian church, martyred in 115 AD): Labor with one another, struggle together, run together, suffer together, rest together, rise up together as God's stewards and assessors and servants.
When you labor with someone you, in essence, chose to join them in their work. You get your hands dirty. You experience what they experience. You can relate to them in a more intimate way because you have calloused your hands right along with them.
Relational currency grows when you labor with someone. If you want to succeed in your labor you will learn to bear one another’s grievances. You will learn to forgive quickly. Your love will grow so strong, that forgiveness will be of little use because love will cover.
The Apostle Paul says struggle exists as a way for us to relate to one another, to offer help to one another. Have you experienced a particular tragedy or pain? The scar may hurt from time to time, but the pain you bore can now be used to encourage another person going through the same thing.
In an increasingly fragmented world, let us allow our faith to draw us close to one another. Let us struggle, together, and learn of God’s glory through the mending cracks of our toil.
Timothy Willard loves to sit with his wife by the bonfire and make up stories about Tom the Backyard-Badger for his three lovely daughters. When he's not carving up the Appalachian Mountains on his Salsa El Mariachi, you can find him busy writing a book, collaborating on a book, or reading a book written by someone dead and gone. Timothy studied beauty in the works of C.S. Lewis under theologian Alister McGrath. The author of five books, including Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society (Zondervan), Timothy is currently finishing The Life-Changing Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019), preparing his doctoral thesis for publication, and trying to find a publisher for his first novel The Tempest and the Bloom. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.