Forbearance is one of the great keys to life!

Forbearance So you have this situation where you can’t read someone very well.  This happens to everyone, unless you’re a complete hermit or you think you’re God’s gift to the world. 

Frankly, the cues you look for just aren’t there.  You start to get insecure and frustrated.  You’ve given what you thought were proper cues only to be met with a stare or a two or three word response.  It even occurs to you, "Maybe I’m the problem."

What to do?  Well, a decent solution is to talk with someone you trust who knows the person you cannot seem to read very well.  This is tricky because when seeking counsel you cannot gossip, sin or complain endlessly.

You say, "You know, I can’t read Joe very well.  I say blue and Joe says red.  I ask Joe a question but Joe doesn’t respond or Joe says, ‘I don’t understand what you’re saying.’  I’m frustrated.  You know Joe very well.  Can you give me some wisdom?"

Your friend says, "That’s just Joe.  He’s a great guy.  You’re an extrovert, and Joe is an introvert.  You do life differently, and that’s good.  Let me tell you, I’ve been with Joe many times, in many difficult situations.  He’s the salt of the earth.  Joe loves God and always, I mean always, tries to do what is right.  The guy’s a real gem, in my view.  Not perfect, of course.  No one is.  But he’s a great guy.  My advice to is keep pressing in — talking more with Joe and even trying to hang out with Joe.  You’ll be glad you did."

Because you respect your friend so much, and because your friend sees Joe as the real deal, you leave the conversation with your friend more determined than ever to give Joe the benefit of the doubt.  You love your friend, and your friend loves Joe.  That kind of settles it, in my mind.   

The Bible calls that forbearance — giving others the benefit of the doubt — and forbearance is a wonderful virtue.

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