Dealing with Anxiety


by Witness Lee



At this point we need to consider in a fuller way the meaning of forbearance. Forbearance means that we are easily satisfied, even with less than our due. This is the meaning of the Greek word rendered forbearance. To be satisfied with less than our due is in contrast to being just in an exacting way.

To forbear is to make no demands on others; it is to be satisfied with whatever another party does to us or for us. Suppose a brother’s wife serves him a cold drink when he preferred a hot one, and, very dissatisfied, he rebukes her for what she has done. This is not forbearance; it is being just in a very exacting manner. If the brother had shown forbearance toward his wife, he would have been satisfied with whatever she served him, even if he had not been able to drink it. He would have been satisfied with less than his due.


In his Word Studies Wuest points out that the Greek word rendered forbearance not only means satisfied with less than our due, but also means sweet reasonableness. The word includes self-control, patience, moderation, kindness, and gentleness. Furthermore, according to Christian experience, forbearance is all-inclusive, for it includes all Christian virtues. This means that if we fail to exercise forbearance, we fail to exercise any Christian virtue. If a brother’s wife serves him a cold drink contrary to his preference and he complains about it, then at that time he does not exhibit any Christian virtue. But if by the grace of Christ he is satisfied with less than his due and exercises forbearance toward his wife, not criticizing her or condemning her, he will show in his forbearance an all-inclusive Christian virtue. His forbearance will include patience, humility, self-control, looking to the Lord, and even the virtue of admitting that the Lord is sovereign in all things.

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