It was solemn moment in the service. Communion was being served. The tradition of the church was for folks to rise, move to the center aisle and go forward, receive communion and then return by the side aisle.
My friend Steve had just returned and had taken his seat when something in his peripheral vision frightened him. There was a big, ugly, hairy animal on his arm. He stifled a scream, jumped up and tried to shake the fearful thing off onto the next guy, but it had a tenacious hold on him.
He paused and realized that the beast was actually a bushy lady’s wig. He snagged it with his coat button when he returned from communion. OK this was absurdly embarrassing.
He discreetly scanned the row in front of him for a seated lady without any hair. And there she was – an older, dignified matron who had no idea that her glory was missing. Her husband noticed, however, and laughed himself under the pew.
I asked Steve what it was like doing church with her after that. He said, “Every time they met, she gave him an icy stare and a grunt.
And who could blame her? He exposed her scruffy scalp to the church! He put her imperfection on display for all to see! Oh my!
We will forgive him for that because it was an accident, but some of us do it quite purposefully.
During the Covid-19 confinement I had an occasion to personally speak with the Sheriff of one of our counties in East Texas. I asked him if he was seeing the same uptick in crime that they were experiencing in New York. He said not in terms of robberies, but the number of domestic 911 calls were spiraling up.
Couples were getting into fistfights over the TV remote or a thoughtless remark – trivial offenses that didn’t really matter before.
I get it. The quarantine is taxing. People are sitting around, with little to do, and their frustration is translated into impatience with their 24-hour-a-day companions. Its crazy! People are facing essentially a life and death situation and yet they are squabbling over who gets to wear the prettiest facemask.
It’s at times like these we need the counsel of the Word of God.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others.” Col 3:12-13 NET Bible ®
I love every word of this prescription. Our homes would be astounding if we filled them with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. But sometimes the only thing we are capable of doing is, “bearing with one another.”
The word “bearing” in the Greek more specifically means, “to endure” one another. To endure is to put up with someone. Yes, your wife may talk incessantly when she is frightened, but who isn’t frightened at the moment? Instead of attacking her, maybe you just need to bear it.
He thinks he owns the TV remote. Why go to war over it? He will be back to work soon, then you can wipe it down with a sanitizer cloth and have it all yourself. In the meantime, maybe you just need to bear it.
Along with the “bearing” Paul adds “forgiving.” – always appropriate especially because we have been forgiven. Maybe Steve should have been forgiven for heisting her hairpiece?
Solomon the wise adds this to the mix. “He who conceals a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.” – Prov 17:9 NASU Rather than camping on offense we should conceal it to minimize the embarrassment.
Maybe the husband of the hairless wife should have quit laughing and discreetly helped to her to get rewigged? As it was, she was on her own. She turned, stared at Steve and said, “Hey you, boy, give me that hair!”
Now of course, I am not suggesting that we should forever ignore personal differences. A healthy relationship will withstand and prosper when effort is made to resolve these things. But there are times, however, that its best just to bear them. This may be the time!