Saturday, January 22, 2011

God's Forbearance - January 22, 2011

2 Peter 3:8-9 (New International Reader's Version)
8 Dear friends, here is one thing you must not forget. With the Lord a day is like a thousand years. And a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow to keep his promise. He is not slow in the way some people understand it. He is patient with you. He doesn't want anyone to be destroyed. Instead, he wants all people to turn away from their sins.

As I read through this chapter in 2 Peter, I was trying to come up with a word that described what is taking place; what God was doing through His actions towards us. What came to my mind (and I know it was through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit), was the old word "forbearance". It is not a word used much in our everyday language today, and when I read the definition and its synonyms I understood why.

The word "forbearance" is defined as, "a refraining from the enforcement of something that is due; the capacity to endure what is difficult or disagreeable without complaining; kind, gentle, or compassionate treatment, especially towards someone who is undeserving of it; patience, long-suffering, tolerance, charity, clemency, leniency, mercifulness."

This is hardly a word that describes most of us today. We are quick to react whenever we are wronged or unhappy, or if someone does something that we don't like. Driving the busy freeways and getting cut off and you'll know what I mean. How about our attitude with work? How do we react when we feel that someone is trying to "steal or show"? And our kids are another thing; what happens when we are in the car talking on our cellphone and the kids are fighting in the back? No, I don't think "forbearance" is our best character trait.

But for God, this word describes his actions perfectly. He has delayed the return of Jesus for His people because of His "forebearance", His patience, long-suffering, tolerance, charity, clemency, leniency, and mercifulness; His love, mercy and compassion for us. The adjectives can't sufficiently describe His compassionate treatment, towards someone as undeserving as us. Year after year, century after century, God patiently waits until the last person that would accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, does.

I have often heard it said that "God is waiting for people to get on the bus"; for us to take the step to admit our shortcomings and get on board with Him. ...He won't wait for you forever. Isn't it time you took advantage of His "forbearance", and gave your life to Him right now?

Photo "Waiting Passenger" PKS in Krakow, Poland, by malpec 7-13-07 from stock.xchng

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