“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.
Tim's authored four books, including the children's book Shine So Bright and the critically acclaimed Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society. He studied beauty in the works of C.S. Lewis for his PhD under Alister McGrath. When he's not scratching poetry, or chasing the scholar's craft, you can find him carving up the trails of the nearest national forest on his Salsa El Mariachi 29er.
He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and three pixie-daughters, and two acres of Great Horned Owls.