Jump to main content


The Stress Pandemic 30: You Don’t Always Have to Forgive


Issue 630

How many times have you said to someone, “Bear with me …” as a preface to asking them to understand whatever it is you are dealing with?  No doubt you have received such requests yourself.

It is a gentle way of speaking and more often than not generates a kind response.

It would not do so if you said, “bear with me while I steal your car” or “bear with me while I lie to you”.

As you think on these things you will be categorizing behaviour into different types.  As you do this you will be distinguishing between forgiveness and forbearance.  If you are sinned against or you sin, then the antidote is not anger but forgiveness.  It is a key stress management skill, divine in origin, and vital for mental well-being.

But many times, you are not sinning or being sinned against, you are operating in a world where you mess up and so do others.  There is no malice at play, it is not sinister, it is just a function of fallible human-beings.

When Mephibosheth’s nurse dropped him and he experienced his life changing injuries, she was not sinning against him.  In fact, her motives were good, she was trying to rescue him and save his life from what she considered to be the clear and present danger coming their way.  Later on in life, Mephibosheth would have to deal with his thoughts about the nurse but if he was honest with himself, she was not acting in any malicious way towards him, quite the opposite.

If you do not distinguish between these two skills, you find yourself needlessly stressed because you will be overreacting to actions or words you encounter.

The best way to reflect on this matter, is to look at how you handle the behaviour of a child.  Some behaviour, even in very young children is rebellious and vindictive, but much behaviour is simply down to the child learning to live.

You don’t need to forgive a three-year old who cannot tie his shoelaces, you need to forbear, show patience, kindness and attempt to support.  If you get angry with a child who has not become potty-trained, you make everything worse. 

So, in everyday parenting, forbearance is simply part of life.  Warning: I am not advocating you treat adults as children!  I’m simply saying that at every age we have our limitations, foibles and abilities to make mistakes.  It is an abuse of the concept of forgiveness to classify these things as sin rather than let your goal be to shrug your shoulders, smile, wrap up the moment in words or patience and simply bear-with…

Could this be why Paul said to a group of Christians in Colossae, Turkey forbear and forgive?

Work well today,

Geoff Shattock

© Geoff Shattock  November 2019


2 Samuel 4:4
4 (Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became disabled. His name was Mephibosheth.)

2 Samuel 9:1-13
1David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”  2 Now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba. They summoned him to appear before David, and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?”  “At your service,” he replied.  3 The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”  Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.”  4 “Where is he?” the king asked.  Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.”  5 So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel.  6 When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor.  David said, “Mephibosheth!”  “At your service,” he replied.  7 “Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”  8 Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”  9 Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.” (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)  11 Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s[a] table like one of the king’s sons.  12 Mephibosheth had a young son named Mika, and all the members of Ziba’s household were servants of Mephibosheth. 13 And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet.

See also: 1 Samuel 31

Colossians 3:13, NIV:
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Colossians 3:13, KJV:
“Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”

Be Sociable, Share!

Series: Stress Pandemic
Module: 1
Daily Guide: No


In preparation for the next GEOFFSHATTOCKweekly, do feel free to email us your thoughts to wtw@worktalk.gs or leave a comment on our Facebook or Twitter profile. You can also visit our YouTube channel - get inspired and share Worktalk's vision with others.

Work well
Geoff Shattock

© Copyright 2023 Geoff Shattock

All GEOFFSHATTOCKweekly archives are for personal use only. For permission to use for any other purposes please email using the address below thank you.

WORKTALK LEARNING 1 Washington Villas, Hythe Road, Marchwood, Southampton, Hampshire, SO40 4WT United Kingdom
T:+44 (0)23 8086 8543

Bookmark and Share