Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Community: Lessons in Forbearance and Forgiveness

On Sunday, our pastor talked about living in community, and what that should look like.  Of course, I was intrigued.  It's a subject that is close to my heart.

What struck me the most was his definition of patience, which he took from a passage in Colossians 3, that talks about "bearing with one another" and "forgiving."  He called these two qualities of patience forbearance and forgiveness.

Forbearance is knowing when to let things go.  If we're going to live in a strong, happy, healthy community then we can't let every little thing about our neighbors bother us.  We are all coming from different walks of life and are diverse in many different ways.  We have to open ourselves up to others' imperfections.  I am admittedly really bad at this. If someone annoys or bores me, it shows.  I have such a hard time giving my time to people I deem unworthy for whatever petty reason.  So, the message really spoke me.

Forgiveness, the pastor described, as letting go of a confessed grievance.  I appreciated his take on this.  Because he said to live in community, we have to be willing to confess to our neighbors when we've messed up, and openly ask them to forgive.  That takes vulnerability.   And, we also have to open ourselves up to letting go of grievances we have against others- even when we have a right to have them!

For me, as a Christian, the message was very relevant to many of my relationships.  How many times do I need to bear with my neighbors, acquaintances, friends, enemies, kids, and husband????  How many times do I have to ask for and give forgiveness?


On the topic of community, this song is just so, so good. The link is to a Johnny Cash version, but it's originally a U2 song. I'm sure you've heard it before.  But, have you ever listened to the words? 

Also, I thought I'd share what will be on my book shelf this fall:

I can't wait for Gretchen Rubin's new book Happier at Home
I ALSO am so excited to read Anne Lamott's new read, Help, Thanks, Wow
And, I recently have heard quite a few good things about the book Bowling Alone by sociologist Robert D. Putnam, a book written in the early 90's about the decline of community in the US.  This book was one of the things mentioned in the sermon this morning, but I had actually already been hearing about it.  I take those things as signs.
I'm sure I'll have much more reading ahead of me this fall, I love a good book, but this is what I'll be reading first.

If you'd like to join me in reading any of these books, please let me know!  I'd love to read them together and get your thoughts in the comments below.

1 comment:

  1. I just ordered Bowling Alone from our library - sounds really interesting!