Saturday, July 6, 2013

Forbearance is the Hallmark of Your Creed...


IV. Nine Visible Attributes of the Christian Life

A Sermon by The Rev. John A. Dalles

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Numbers 14:18; Galatians 5:22-23

The other day, I came across a list of words that have gone out of use, but maybe should not have. You decide.

Here are some of them…

Snoutfair: A person with a handsome countenance. Yes, just try using that one on your spouse today, “Honey you sure are looking ‘Snoutfair’!”

Lunting: Walking while smoking a pipe. Maybe we could repurpose that one for “Texting when driving”?

Groak: To silently watch someone while they are eating, hoping to be invited to join them. Our dog Brantley is an expert at this.

Curglaff: The shock felt in bathing when one first plunges into the cold water.

Tyro-man-cy: Divining by the coagulation of cheese — I think someone wrote a book on that and called it – The Curds and Their Ways.

…Oh! Here’s a great one…

Resistentialism: Which means: The seemingly spiteful behavior shown by inanimate objects. You know, like when the coffee table whacks you in the shin.

Old fashioned words keep disappearing. When they go out of use it suggests that the action or quality they represent is become scarcer and scarcer.

I doubt that few people beyond those born before 1930 use the term icebox any more – even when refereing to a cake recipe.

If you have an icebox in your house, let me know.

And let me know what day the iceman cometh…

“Forbearance” is one of those disappearing words.

I ask you…

Have you heard anyone say it conversation within the past several decades?

No. Nor have I.

And that is a problem.

Because if the word is going, going, gone…than the quality it stands for is also doomed like the passenger pigeon and the moa.

There ain't no moa any moa.

But I digress. So back to the word forbearance…

Often this Fruit Of The Holy Spirit is translated into the English word “Patience”. It is a fair rendering of the meaning Paul is getting at. When we are patient, we know that something is going to happen, but we wait for it without fretting and without agitation.

The quality of being forbearing, however, goes beyond patience.

To forbear is to meaning 'stop yourself from doing something'.

And that is even harder than being patient.

We know ourselves to be rash and hasty at times.

We confess it is true.


Often we go ahead and do something or say something that we later regret.

Here is a helpful hint:

To live with less regret, cultivate the fruit of forbearance.

When one cultivates the fruit of forbearance…

- One takes Thomas Jefferson’s rule to heart:

When angry, count to ten;

When very angry count to one hundred.

When one cultivates the fruit of forbearance…

One takes Ann Lander’s advice to heart:

Write that letter that gets out all of your frustration and concern, and then put it in the desk drawer for several days and then get it out and read it and put it back in the drawer and repeat until you get it out of your system and then tear it up and throw it away.

Yes I know, I can hear you saying, “No one writes letters any more. We text and we email, the way we live now.”

And therein lies a problem.

Because once you press that send button, off it goes into the wonderful world of cyberspace… and there is no possibility for you to forbear.

Is there?

To be fair, some things need to be said. But we are advised by our Lord Jesus Christ that we are to walk an extra mile, to give not only our shirt off our back but our coat as well, that we are to forgive seventy times seven which is not a mathematical number (by the way), but rather forgive again and again and again to infinity and beyond. Once we have walked the extra mile and forgiven even our enemies, then, maybe things need to be said.

But then again, maybe not.

One of my friends told me those three rules from her grandmother that I think are appropriate in every satiation.

Ask yourself:

- Is it true?

- Is it kind?

- Is it necessary?



If it isn’t true…

Then, why in the world would you repeat it? Sooner or later, the people around you will come to know that you are a liar.

If it isn’t kind…

Then why in the world would you want to be thought of as unkind, callous, pushy and mean person? Those who are unkind soon find themselves with few friends and many needless pains to bear.

If it isn’t necessary…

Then it is more superfluous than a parsley garnish. And if you are always talking about things that are not necessary, people will soon figure out that you are a scatter-brained, dizzy and ditsy person.

Consequently, when you want to be taken seriously, they won’t. Because they have become accustomed to your majoring in the minors year after year.


- politely or patiently restrain an impulse to do something;

- refrain

- endure it

- bear with it

- 'endure the absence of something,

- do without'

- bear up against,

In short…control yourself.

Ask yourself:

- Is it true?

- Is it kind?

- Is it necessary?

Here is one more thing to keep in mind regarding forbearance in all things…

When you do not forbear…

Eventually people will come to the realization that what you do and say reflects only on you.

Now someone will say you nave not mentioned God much so far, or the Bible… So let’s do that…

If we were to look for those who demonstrate a lack of restraint in scripture, we first find it in Geneses. Lack of restraint led Adam and eve to eat that fruit God said not to eat. And down through the ages, people have been eating bad fruit and it has disagreed with people terribly. How wonderful it is that the Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to eat The Good Fruit Of Forbearance, every day.

I suppose we could say that forbearance is the stealth virtue.

- It is under the radar.

- For someone to forbear, they are busy NOT doing something.

- It is so subtle, you very well might miss it altogether.

- And that is the point.

- Forbearance whispers.

- It never shouts.

Did you notice what the Old Testament says about the Lord God Almighty?

- 18 ‘The LORD is slow to anger,

- abounding in steadfast love

- forgiving sin and rebellion.

That is a divine definition of Forbearance.

It seems that God looks at us and counts to ten. And many times, to one hundred. And two hundred. And one thousand and two thousand.

It also seems that God looks at us…


God cares so much about us, that God writes that letter about our sinful behavior. And then, God hides that letter away in some heavenly credenza, where it can rest awhile while God cools off. After that, God gets it out. And God reads it again. Then, God puts it away again. And so on and so forth. With some of us God has stopped keeping track of how many times the letter has been in and out of that drawer.

When God feels the need to discipline us, it is apparent that God firsts asks those grandmotherly questions:

Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?

All of that is packed into our Old Testament lesson from Nehemiah.

We are so blessed that--

- 18 ‘The LORD is slow to anger,

- abounding in steadfast love

- forgiving sin and rebellion.

But did you read the rest of that verse?

- Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.

The other day, I came across a list of words that have gone out of use, but maybe should not have. One of them is forbearance.

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