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Make allowance for each other’s faults

by Julia M. Bruce, MSPC, Mental Health Coach,
CEO, Wellspring Christian Ministries

How to handle the faults of others

How do you react towards the faults of others? What about when they hurt you physically or emotionally? What if their fault came at a cost to you? In Ephesians 4:2, we find three fruits of the Spirit to tell us how we should handle the faults of others. This verse tells us that we should be humble, gentle, and patient with the faults of others.

Humility, Gentleness, and patience is the response to faults

Living with humility, gentleness, and patience is hard… but why? Here are three reasons this is difficult:

  1. Because we always tend to look out for ourselves. Our human nature tends to lean toward self-protection and our natural reaction to being wronged or hurt is to put our defenses and demand retribution.
  2. We point our finger at other people’s faults so that our faults don’t look that bad. If we can show the other person in a worse light than ourselves, then everyone’s attention will be on the bigger fault of the other person and we can keep ours tucked away, unseen or at least forgotten.
  3. We place the blame on their faults so that we don’t have to feel guilty for our own. None of us like the feeling of knowing we are guilty. So when tensions arise in relationships, we look for where we can blame others to either justify our own actions or so that we can say, “I might have been wrong, but not as wrong as she was!”

We are all guilty of faults

The only problem with all three of these excuses is that God sees and knows everything. He doesn’t look at our sin and compare it with the person next to us. To Him, sin is sin. It doesn’t come in Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large. We are all guilty because the Bible says that “All have sinned.” 

So if God expects us to utilize these three Fruits of the Spirit as we encounter the faults of others, we need to understand what these three fruits mean and what they look like when we utilize them.

Responding to faults with humility

To  have humility is to be free from pride and arrogance. A humble person doesn’t need to pretend to be something they are not. It’s not about your ego. Rather than being self-centered, you are other-centered.  It is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking about yourself less. The less we think about ourselves, the more we can think about the needs of others or what they might be going through. The less we think about ourselves, the more time we have to pray for others.

When we live with humility we do not need to have all the focus on us. We are “other-driven”.  Consider how much time you think about yourself, pray for yourself, groom yourself, and complain to others about how your needs are not met or how someone has done you wrong. Now how much time do you spend worried about your spouse’s needs or your friend’s needs or your co-workers or boss’ needs. How much time to you spend concerned about your parents’ or children’s needs? How much time to spend praying for other people in your life? And how much time do you spend complaining about your pastor rather than praying for him? It’s time we

Responding to faults with Gentleness

Gentleness is the quality of being kind, tender, or mild-mannered. It does not mean being weak. Rather it is a polite and restrained behavior toward others. It is setting aside pride, arguing, resentment and anger and being willing to forgive the faults and offenses of others.  We need to remember our own offenses against God and that through his love, grace, and gentleness towards us, He forgives us – therefore, how can our response be anything less in regards to the faults and offenses of others?

Responding to faults with Patience

Patience is having the ability to endure – whether that is a tedious task, a trial, or an annoyance – without getting riled up. If a person is patient, he is able to remain calm, even when you’re stuck in rush hour traffic or you’ve been waiting in the drive=thru line or the check out line at the store much longer than you wanted.

The patient person can face afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation, temptations, or other evils and remain calm. Their temper does not flare, you won’t hear them murmuring or complaining, and you’ll not see them acting fretful or anxious. Instead, the patient person will persevere through every situation, learn and grow from it, and bear the faults of others without malice, anger, resentment, or revenge. Consider for a moment the areas of life where you struggle with patience – is it in driving, at the office, with your spouse or children, attempting a difficult task?

People are not perfect – neither are you

Think for a moment the last time your ran up against the fault of another person. What was your reaction to their fault? In Matthew 26:34, Jesus tells Peter that on that very night before the rooster crows, Peter will deny that he knows Jesus. Because of His sovereignty, Jesus knew that Peter would do this even when He called him to be His disciple.  So from this we can learn that we should enter into relationships with the expectation that people are not perfect. They will mess up, make mistakes, let us down, disappoint, and even hurt us.

If we are honest with ourselves, then each one of us can also think about a time where we messed up, made a mistake, let someone down, disappointed someone, or hurt another person. For this reason, we should be willing to make allowance for the faults of others, especially when Jesus has forgiven us. Colossians 3:12-13 says, “Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.”

Focus on your own faults

If we concentrate on our own faults, we probably won’t have time and energy to be worrying about everyone else’s faults. As we admit and own up to our faults, we can then live patiently with others. Whether it’s with your spouse, co-workers, friends, family, or other drivers in rush hour traffic, how can you live humbly, with gentleness and patience today? Spend some time asking God to show you the areas that you are not humble, gentle and patient with others.

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We know that ministry is hard! When you serve in ministry as staff or volunteer, you are on a spiritual battlefield 24/7. As you serve God, you fight for the Kingdom of God and our adversary is constantly attacking. He wants you to either lose your effectiveness in your ministry role or get you to quit. We must be sure we are reconnecting to the Vine (Jesus) so that we can refill, renew, and recharge. Then we can keep on pouring into others.

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