Daily Reading: Ephesians 4:1–7

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Eph. 4:2)

Last Christmas, quite late in the season I ordered personalized, handmade stockings. The woman creating these homey works of art assured me they would be done on time. I was a bit concerned—after all, I’d ordered six—but she remained confident.

Unfortunately life got in the way of her knitting, and I didn’t receive the stockings until early January. Not only were they late, they were not even close to the quality she had advertised.

My first inclination was to take the “disappointed schoolmarm” approach with her. (“We both know you’re capable of much better work. I expect you to correct your mistakes this instant, young lady.”)

While giving the woman a piece of my mind might have been initially satisfying, I knew that approach would reflect a disgruntled, unregenerate Scrooge rather than Jesus, who was “completely humble and gentle.”

I discussed the situation with my husband. He said, “We’re not doing her a favor by accepting unacceptable workmanship.” I agreed, but I wondered if we should still “let her have it,” albeit nicely.

I recalled that I didn’t always deliver my “projects” on time and in pristine condition. Life gets in my way, too, but my friends and associates often bear with me. So I returned the stockings but thanked the woman for her work and wished her the best with future endeavors. My family gave the letter a thumbs up. I think Jesus was pleased too.

Choose today to bear with someone who’s struggling.

Mary McNeil lives in Erie, Pennsylvania, and enjoys jet-skiing, sailing, reading, and hanging out with her family and three dogs.