When people come together in community, we soon discover that forbearance is most necessary. “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Col. 3:13).
This comes out in many areas—in preparing for weddings, in doing business together, in dealing with someone else teaching your kids, and in all the other little areas where we annoy one another. Please note that the Bible never has to tell us to annoy one another—we already do that. We must bear with one another.
Now in doing this, two c’s are available to us, and one c is not. When there is a point of friction or difficulty, we may cover in love, or we may confront in love. What we may not do is hide the offense from the offender, but not hide it from others. We may not complain, in other words.
In the day to day business of life together, we have to rub along as best we can. We overlook the thoughtless things done by others, and we are to do this with the full recognition that they are almost certainly having to do the same. A person who forbears with others, while believing that no one has to forbear with him, is a person who is being spiritual clueless. Cover it. Cover it in love. And when you cover it in love, this is not the same thing as sweeping it under the carpet—such that you eventually have a very lumpy carpet. No, when this is being done as it ought to be done, you discover that the carpet of love is a magic carpet and dissolves everything you put under there. If you can still recall all the details of the annoyance six months later, you are using the wrong broom and the wrong carpet.
But we all know that there are some offenses that are too significant to simply let go. For the sake of the gospel, and for the sake of the other person, you have to confront. Do that in love also, and in accordance with the Scriptures.
If you can’t cover, and won’t confront, and you resort to complaints to other people about the difficulty, then whatever the problem was, you are at the very center of it.