May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to be live in such harmony with each other…
I find it so interesting how Paul, in this passage, asks that the God of endurance would grant us to live peaceably with each other. This implies a certain fact that some of us may forget about relationships:
Relationships require endurance.
Isn’t it just so wonderful to meet a great new friend? Since moving to California, I sure have. Tons of them. And I found that when the length of your friendships are short, and when you only see certain aspects of certain people at certain times, it’s very easy to like somebody and get along with them.
But if we forget that relationships require endurance, it might come to us as a BIG surprise when someone acts out of line, when someone says something that offends us or puts us down, when someone breaks a promise, when someone steps on our toes, or even when someone hurts us in a significant way.
What I’m saying here, and what I think Paul is saying, is… we need to embrace endurance in our relationships in order for them to last.
Endurance implies difficulty. But it also implies resoluteness in spite of difficulty. If we want to have and sustain long term relationships we need to be committed to the whole 9 yards. And it’s going to take lots and lots of forgiveness, patience, covering over with love, confession, humbling, and these acts of reconciliation in order to sustain any long term relationship.
And as Paul reminds us, we also should recognize the source of strength for doing these things. It is the God of endurance who would grant us the grace to do this because He Himself is committed to a long term relationship with us.