Theme: Benefit of the doubt.
1. Ephesians 2:4 says, “Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” What does it mean to “bear” with each other? Why does God want us to do this?
2. God sent Samuel to find and anoint the new king of Israel. God sent him to Jesse’s house in Bethlehem. One by one, Jesse’s sons were brought out; and one by one, God said, “Not this one.” David’s father didn’t even think to bring him to Samuel, because he didn’t think David would be the one God had chosen. They judged David on his size. You can read this story in 1 Samuel 16. Think of how David’s family jumped to conclusions about his abilities as you listen to today’s program.
“Be patient, bearing with one another in love”
In this episode, some characters jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts. How often do you jump to conclusions? It's easy to do, and we do it a lot. People make judgments about others based on the way they look, , their homes, their clothes, their cars, their jobs. But God calls for you to be patient with others, to bear with one another. The dictionary offers several meanings for "to bear" including “to tolerate” or “to carry.” These two meanings are helpful in understanding what Paul is saying here. When you bear with someone you tolerate them, but not in a negative way—instead, it means that you allow for their weaknesses or for the things they do differently than you do, and you love them anyway. You carry them when you listen to them and allow them the benefit of the doubt.
The benefit of the doubt is a gift that you can give. Did you hear a rumor? An accusation? Don't rush to judge; give the benefit of the doubt and wait for all the facts before making a judgment.
In all of this, love is the motivator for your patience. God is patient with you. He strengthens you in your weaknesses and helps you carry your burdens (Psalm 68:19). In fact, in Christ he takes your weaknesses and burdens on himself, giving you the freedom to belong to him and to love others.
Is somebody in your family bugging you? How can you be patient with them? How can you give them the benefit of the doubt? When you run into a situation that frustrates you, pray and ask God to help you bear with them and love them.