One of the more honest t-shirt logos this preacher has noticed in recent years is, “Does not play well with others.” Of all the burdens that Paul mentioned bearing, the last was, “that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11 :28).
Getting along with others is learned behavior. It takes work. One of the attributes essential to getting along with others is also an essential characteristic of love. It is also mentioned among the traits necessary for keeping the unity of the Spirit. Paul even included it in his instruction to preachers as vital to their work. Consider these passages together, and the essential ingredient should become obvious:
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envied not; charity vaunteth not itself, isn’t puffed up” (1 Corinthians 13:4).
“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsufferring, forbearing one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2).
Being “long suffering” is a beautiful Biblical concept. It is virtually self-explanatory; “longsuffering means to “suffer long with another.” Whether it be our quirky personalities, our different ways of expressing ourselves, our predictable behaviors, our struggles with or anything else, we must learn to bear with one another. Perfection is something that will only be realized at the coming of Christ.
J. Brooks Boyd, Jr.
Livingston church of Christ