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  • Writer's pictureEli Schnell

Tolerance in Love

In Ephesians 4:1-3, Paul charges the Christians to live a lifestyle worthy of the gospel. He describes it in the second and third verses, which say, “…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Tolerance is a hot subject presently in American culture. Many demand tolerance from all for all their choices, but that is not the lifestyle Christians are commanded to live out.

The tolerance described in Ephesians 4:2 carries the idea of putting up with each other’s irritating habits. After all, we are people, and some things others do, while not sinful, get under my skin. Even brethren can grate on one another’s nerves when we chew with our mouths open! The reason this is limited only to non-sinful irritations is found in the preposition “in love.”

We show tolerance in love. “Love” is “agape,” a specific type of love that speaks of our priorities. We tolerate one another in love; we prioritize the soul’s health over our petty irritations and complaints.

As brethren grow closer, we will find irritating things about each other. Maybe my children’s voices are shrill, maybe I wish you didn’t laugh the way you do, and maybe you don’t like that I put chips on my sandwich (it’s good, I promise). Brethren, put up with each other and care more about each other’s souls than petty irritations. Keep your minds focused on the goal, and maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. God has brought us together in Christ. Appreciate the cost of that unity by tolerating your brethren in love.

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