Dealing With the Imperfect Christians
Although Christians strive to be like Christ, they are imperfect and may fall short in the life-long process of sanctification. In fact, God uses their imperfections to “grow” in the faith. As they learn to live in harmony with the church family, they may encounter situations that are difficult and need patience. The Bible gives special council as to how to deal with the weak ones:
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye” (Colossians 3:13). In our fellowship with fellow believers, not only should there be habitual outward self-control or forbearance in words or deeds, there should also be the habit of ignoring the faults, mistakes, or weaknesses of others. This is true forgiveness (Mark 11:25; Ephesians 4:32).
“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” (Philippians 3:12-13). Forgetting the wrongs of the past is necessary for forgiveness.
“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). The person who is meek receives the harm done to him by others, and accepts meekly to the trials of life. This characteristic is necessary for the unity of the members; without it division appears. Meekness, being the denial of self even when provoked, cannot exist without humility.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). It is the opposite of the malice of Ephesians 4:31.
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
The Lord imparts His full grace (Ephesians 4:7) to enable the imperfect believers to love one another as the Lord has commanded: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34).
In His service,