by VIKKI DILLON MUMFORD
In the midst of this season of suffering caused by the pandemic and post-pandemic, our community is saturated with forbearance opportunities. You may ask, “Why should we forbear with one another?” In this era, the world says, “You gotta hang tough, man!” or, “You must pay the debt by the fifth of the month.” Meanwhile, the Word of God runs counter to the world’s standards.
In light of continued social distancing, should we carry the disposition of spiritual distancing? Jesus Christ made it clear that for us to live a life that pleases Him, we must have genuine concern, care and cordiality for one another. The gift of Love must be received from God Almighty through His Son Jesus Christ.
Scripture tells us in John 3:5-7 that we must be twice born in order for the Holy Spirit to take residence in our lives. The guidance of the Holy Spirit will determine how we walk, work, witness and worship.
Our walk: Forbearance is a demonstration of patience, self-control and tolerance under provocation. It may come in the form of extra time allowed for a debtor to come up with an overdue payment. Scripture teaches, “What ye wish men do unto you, do ye also to them” (Matthew 7:12). We must love our neighbor as ourselves and keep unity and the bond of peace. To walk is to continuously make steps forward. Hence, our lifestyle must reflect truth and integrity.
Our work: Forbearance involves work. It is a manifestation of graciously enduring the failures and shortcomings of one another without becoming angry or impatient. As hands and feet to do the Master’s work, we must not get weary or vengeful. There are plenty of hands reaching out for a lift up here on planet Earth, even within our neighborhood.
As believers in Christ, we do good work because we are saved to build up God’s kingdom. We must forever be mindful of the debt Jesus paid. He came down from heaven to Earth to pay our sin debt so we can live with Him throughout eternity.
Our witness: When we forbear with one another, we become a witness to others of the power of Jesus Christ in our lives. It has been said, “People would rather see a sermon lived than to hear one preached any day.” In fact, our lives may be the only book that others read. As we forbear in love with one another, others will forbear with us! If we are merciful, others will be merciful to us. Our good deeds will glorify our Father in heaven.
Our worship: Daily we have opportunities to forbear with someone in some small way. When you have the joy of Jesus in your heart, the JOY shows in your priorities: Jesus should always be first in your life. You will put Others above yourself; and you will have care and concern for Yourself last. Often, we choose to neglect daily serving others and would rather go to church for our weekly emotional high. But we must be generous with our time, flexible in our discipleship, selfless in service, and eternally focused with our treasures.
My Mission Mississippi moment
Reflecting on forbearance, I am reminded of one of the tenants of Mission Mississippi, which is to live reconciled with one another. I recognize that while I am only one person, I can do something to make this world a better place and build up the body of Christ. One way to achieve this is to intentionally meet new people, show them love, listen to their stories, and evangelize to them when I can.
In early summer 2021, following months of being quarantined, I called on one of my prayer partners, Sarah, who is of another race, to ask that we have a four-person lunch. Sarah introduced her friend Betty; then I introduced my friend Patricia. We had a rich discussion about the ironies of life and found that we have so much in common. Our stories were so strikingly similar, we could hardly believe we were once strangers.
Through our gathering — and with Christ at the center — we have learned that through mutual love, respect and prayer, we can dine together, laugh together, cry together and make intercession for one another. In sum, when we approach life with the same deep-abiding love and enthusiasm that every man is our brother, we will without hesitation forbear with one another. #BearingWithOneAnother
Vikki Dillon Mumford is a native Mississippian and one of 14 children born to Monroe and Laverne Dillon of Magnolia. She has been married to Alexander Mumford for 47 years. Together they have three sons: Jeffrey, Gerald and Jarrod. Vikki is a member of New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson and a retired court administrator with the U. S. District Court.