Bearing One Another

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk
worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all
lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one
another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit
in the bond of peace.
(Ephesians 4:1-3, NKJV)

In the six months since we brought “Archie the yorkie-poo” home, there’s been some interesting conversations and lots of adjustments. Ms. Diane’s new dog “Archie”, or “Arcino” (pronounced “ar-che-no”), the Italian-ized version of “Archie, NO!”, has been a life-changer. Some of the more memorable comments have centered around 105-pound “Bubba the chocolate lab” and4.5-pound “Archie the screeching dog” around one another. They’ve included:

But he’s only twenty-three times larger, they’ll be fine together.

If he’ll only leave him alone when he’s eating or sleeping, they’ll be fine.

No, I don’t think he’ll eat your dog, Honey.

No, I don’t think he’ll break Archie.

Can you please make him stop screaming like a little girl every time I get up to go to the bathroom at 1am?

Many of you know about our farm dog, Bubba. He’s the snake-hating, cow-watching, protector of the Cross-Dubya ranch. At nearly eight-years-old and suffering a debilitating ligament injury over a year ago, he’s slowed down a bit and needs help to get in and out of the UTV. Each day, he patrols the acreage, visits our neighbors, Mr. Tom and Ms. Ola Jean, when he can, and naps. Known for his easy-going personality, unless you’re a snake or pesky barn cat that tries to sneak a bit of his food, Bubba enjoys a peaceful life. That changed drastically when he met Archie.

Four-months-old and a whopping 1.75 pounds when we brought him home, having a puppy in the home has been adventurous for all of us, including Bubba. I suppose it’s safe to refer to Archie as high energy. He gets the Zoomies after every meal, enjoys romping around the farm on long walks, has a 36-inch vertical leap, and loves to tackle and harass the barn cats. To watch him confront and give kisses (through the fence) to 2,300-pound “Mavric the bull” is special. Watching him go head-to-head with the donkeys (from the other side of the fence, of course) and cause them to turn and run with his ferocious screeching is hilarious.

One change has been that Bubba, not understanding why he’s relegated to his rug in the garage on all but the coldest nights, spends more time inside. Seeing his sad eyes and mournful look when Archie lives in the lap of luxury, with his own bed in air-conditioned comfort, just ain’t right. So, a couple times per day and most nights, Bubba follows us in and assumes his position on his sofa in the family room. I make sure he’s clean first, but the solution seems to keep the peace.

It seems to have worked well, as both Bubba and Archie enjoy most of their time together. When outside, Bubba watches over Archie and keeps him safe by patrolling the area where Archie wants to play. Inside, Bubba attempts to lie quietly and seemingly shakes his head at the high-energy antics of this hairy little ping-pong ball with legs. There are, however, moments.

As you may have noticed in the photo, Bubba has a unique way of communicating to Archie that he needs to settle down. He places his enormous paw onto his little companion and pins him to the floor. He’ll then nuzzle his little friend and, after a minute or two, he’ll let him up. This usually happens when Archie is jumping around his face wanting to play while Bubba prefers his afternoon nap next to my desk. Another is when Bubba is sleeping on his sofa and Archie wants to run back and forth and play. Bubba issues a low-growl that says, “Back off”, and Archie immediately climbs onto my lap and settles in for a finger-chewing or sock-monster session instead. Through it all, Bubba and Archie have found an unlikely friendship and they seem to show a level of love and understanding that I wish more people had. They don’t always like one another, but love trumps like every time.

How well do we bear others? Not for their sake, but for God’s sake. #BearWithLove #LoveIsPatient #DisciplineIsLove Share on X

Watching our two canine friends interact with one another, God reminded me of the words in Chapter Four of Ephesians. We are to bear one another in love. That’s a lesson many people need to be reminded of these days. It seems ours has become a society of intolerance and divisiveness. I’ve long recognized that I’m a grumpy old man, who is opinionated, seldom wrong (in my mind), and holds strong convictions. I’m also a Christian, and the two cannot be mutually exclusive. There is much in modern-day society I don’t like, but if I’m going to be the Ambassador for Christ I am called to be, then I must also love like Him.

It’s easy to use “anti-social” media to bash all those you don’t agree with, but that’s exactly what Satan wants us to do. When you see someone dressed differently than you, expressing their individuality through self-expression, or choosing an alternative lifestyle, we judgmentally turn them away. As Christians, why are we playing Satan’s game?

Instead, I implore you to consider Paul’s words in his letter to the church at Ephesus. As Christians, we are to conduct ourselves in a manner that reflects godliness rather than worldliness. That’s a radically different model than what this world teaches us. Then again, Jesus Christ was a radically different teacher. He came not to divide but to reconcile and unify us. We honor Him when we apply His lessons of grace, mercy, and love to our lives.

God’s love seeks to bring about reconciliation and unity, not division and high-mindedness. #LoveSeeksPeace #LoveBearsAll Share on X

Please note that I’m not suggesting we Christians must accept the sinful ways of others. Doing so results in validating their poor choices and enabling their further bad behavior. Instead, we must speak truth to them in love, recognizing that each of us in our own way was just as lost in sin at some time in our life. When we calmly share God’s truth with them, even if it means we put God’s giant paw of conviction and restraint upon them, they’ll recognize the difference God makes.

Perhaps it’s time we change from following the world’s example and start following Christ’s more closely. Showing His love to others with humility and gentleness results in bringing peace and unity into our home, family, church, and community.


God’s blessings,


Please join me this Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.


54 thoughts on “Bearing One Another”

  1. Yvonne Morgan

    Great message JD. We have fallen into Satan’s trap of judging and criticizing each other because someone is different. It surprises me at what I read “Christians” comments on social media. So much hatred instead of love. We need to live other the way Christ loves us. Thank you for sharing and can’t wait to hear more about Archie.

    1. Thank you Ms. Yvonne. I too find it easier to complain, judge, and criticize those who believe, look, or act different from me. I think the reason is it’s easier to act in our human nature than to surrender to the Holy Spirit’s spiritual nature. I’ve been guilty of posting my thoughts rather than God’s thoughts at times, but He’s working on me. So glad you enjoyed ma’am.

  2. Once again, J. D., valuable and life-giving messages conveyed by our fur buddies through their actions. I do love how you take notice of God being at work in the animal world as well as ours. We would do well to learn those lessons in order to cope and overcome this sinful world in which we live.
    Blessings and hugs to the pups!

    1. Aww shucks Ms. Martha Jane. I sure appreciate your kind words ma’am. Not sure that I do anything special other than trying to keep my “Spiritual Radar” scanning when I’m awake and about. I’ll take a photo and then think about it more when I can do some praying, and it seems to work. Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement ma’am.

  3. A “ping pong ball with legs :)”–I laughed out loud over that one, J.D. and number of others as well. I loved watching the new relationship through your eyes and almost wish Diane and I had one. ‘Course I held my breath and prayed til the moment passed, and now I’m OK again. We do love dogs, and enjoy those that our kids have. They are an endless source of drama, trauma, and live-in entertainment.
    The real takeaway, obviously, is the connection you made with the Word of God. It’s much easier to talk about bearing with one another than it is to actually do it, but that’s not surprising. We’ve run into that characteristic before about things Jesus taught. The part you closed out with was especially important, too. Sometimes I see folks who take bearing with others to the point you wisely warned about. Running around with an adversarial attitude and issuing condemnation about every new piece of evil that a godless culture dreams up isn’t going to sound like the life transforming Good News Jesus sent us to proclaim and demonstrate. It’s a constant challenge to find that balance where it’s clear that we don’t approved of the depravity being played out in our country every day, but that we love what Jesus can do for those spiritually blind victims of the devil’s lies. Thank God that He sent His Spirit to come to our aid when our old nature starts showing itself.
    God bless you for another uniquely persona and powerfully Scriptural visit to the ranch. I’m looking forward to getting a chance to see the new friends doing their thing. Meanwhile thanks for sharing them with us and giving Mrs. Diane and me a bunch of smiles we didn’t expect.

    1. LOL! It took me seven years to surrender to another “lap dog”, but I’m hoping this one is more Ms. Diane’s than mine. So far, it’s a “toss up”, although he does seem to like to curl up in my beard and sleep at night. Bubba remains on his sofa, his rug in the garage, or the carpet at the foot of my bed. He says, “My sofa is more comfy.” Funny how he sounds like Scooby Doo in my head. Perhaps that’s why I named him “Bubba”; he just looks like a Bubba.

      Am so glad you appreciated the spiritual lesson I tried to share. I mentioned earlier that sometimes we “hit the easy button” and respond to this world in worldy ways. That’s when the Holy Spirit thumps my heart (remember how our dad or grandpa would do that to the back of our head to get attention?) and remind me that I’m no longer of this world so I should quit acting like it. It’s when we let Him control our thoughts and actions that we best reflect Christ in us. God’s blessings my friend.

    1. So glad you enjoyed Ms. Ane. I’m certain “Bubba” and “Seamus” would be best buddies. “Seamus” would, like “Bubba”, tolerate him with kindness until he (Archie) gets on his last nerve, then he would either pin him down with his paw or sit on it. 😀

  4. Thanks so much for sharing. I love the antics of Bubba and Archie. How like those two we are as we think our way is best! How our Lord must smile as He watches over His children—sometimes on our bed of sorrow and sometimes in His lap. But all is good. Blessings on this beautiful day!

    1. Amen! Thanks Ms. Marjorie. And yes, our animals often reflect more godly ways than we do. Which always reminds me that I can do better. Thank you ma’am and God’s blessings.

    1. So glad you enjoyed Ms. Sarah. Can’t wait to learn where I end up visiting next through your speaking engagements. 🙂 Hearing that laughter brought the biggest smile ma’am.

    1. Thank you Ms. Diana. I promise to write to you about some of my “Rancher-isms” soon, but it’s real important to remember our purpose here on earth is to point to Him. We do that best when we follow His direction.

  5. This was a very good reminder for me not to fall into Satan’s trap – which in this weird world seems to be more and more difficult – for me at least. Thank you again, my friend.

    1. It (the world) sure is getting more and more difficult to navigate Ms. Ann. It used to be that “we washed feet because that’s what got dirty as we walked dusty, dirt roads of life.” Now, I feel like I have to take a hot shower to wash the stench of the world off me. In reality, I need a “spiritual shower”, through prayer, to refresh my spirit. God’s blessings my friend and hang in there. He’s coming for us!

  6. I also had several little poodles over the years, and you’re right–they’re yappy and high-strung. I’m glad Bubba is so patient and caring for sweet Archie. What a good lesson for us as we try to gently restrain and calm the crazy culture’s behavior out there! Another great lesson, JD! Have a blessed week, dear brother.

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. “Archie” doesn’t yap or bark as much as he screams and screeches. If you’ve never heard a male bobcat during mating season, you’ll have to listen to little “Arcino”, the screeching dog. If I can, I’ll share a recording with you. You’ll be in tears. God’s blessings sweet sister-in-Christ.

    1. Amen Ms. Barbara. It’s funny to watch them outside. Bubba will roll over for one my “Tummy Rubs” and while he’s busy smiling those toothy “Bubba Smiles”, Archie is at his head giving him kisses. When Bubba lays in the grass, he allows Archie to lay underneath his front shoulder and peer out at the world in safety.

  7. I love the interaction between the two dogs. Bubba is a good big “brother” to little Archie. Thank you for sharing about them and reminding us of the need to love everyone at all times. Have a blessed week dear friend! 🙂

  8. Edwina Cowgill

    Loved this post! Your description of the dogs’ antics was hilarious! And, as always, the scriptural message was right on point!

    1. If I brought both a smile and a reason to think on spiritual things, then I am blessed beyond what is possible Ms. Edwina. So glad you enjoyed the post ma’am. God’s blessings.

  9. This was such a delightful post to read. Visualizing these scenes and antics made me laugh out loud .
    It reminded me of a time we adopted a young, small dog who brought new life into our elder Cocker Spaniel. (The size difference was not as great as your Archie and Bubba.)
    Your new found household dynamics is truly lending itself to great biblical application and, as always, you do a masterful job of articulate such.
    Thanks for the fun and meaningful read.
    Hugs to all residents of the CrossDubya!

    1. We’re all sending hugs right back to you and Mr. Guy Ms. Connie. Thank you ma’am, and so glad you enjoyed the post and appreciated the lesson God showed me.

    1. Absolutely Ms. Nancy. The challenge for many of us (especially me sometimes) is that the sound level of the rhetoric coming from those in opposition to God that I feel compelled to rebuke them with the same ferocity. It’s when I speak truth softly, in the face of yelling, screaming, entitled, and demanding sin, that Christ speaks loudest. God’s blessing my kind and gentle friend.

  10. As always, I’m grateful for your wisdom and for your prayers that we can love one another, even if we don’t always agree. What a wonderful world this would be if we could recognize that we are all God’s children and He shares the example of how we are called to love others. Bubba and Archie’s relationship is a good metaphor as to how we can be different as we still show compassion and share love. Thank you my friend. May God bless you and the Cross-Dubya family (including Bubba and Archie).

    1. Wisdom? Me? Boy, how that sounds strange, but welcome and appreciated ma’am. It has to be coming from Christ in me though. Loving one another, with Christ’s love, is the key, isn’t it ma’am? I think the more we understand “Christ’s love” the better we’re able to demonstrate it through our lives. Perhaps the stronger He lives in me, the better He lives through me. God’s blessings sweet friend.

  11. What a great example. I tend not to “bash” those who are different from me, but rather to withdraw–and that’s not right, either. And I so appreciate the reminder that striving for unity doesn’t mean tolerating sin, but speaking the truth in love that others might come to know and live for the Savior.

    1. Yes. I too often walk away and say nothing. Oh, I’ll mutter to myself about what is right, but I’ll often walk away when I can feel my human nature taking control from my spiritual nature. It’s better to say nothing in the heat of the moment than it is to cause the heat to increase by getting into a shouting match. We can’t show Christ in worldly ways my friend. Thank you so much for adding to our conversation.

  12. Jeannie Waters

    Your message is timely and well-written, J. D. I enjoyed the dog story which segued into a powerful and scriptural lesson. I hope to picture Bubba and remember to pray the next time I meet or read of a person whose actions or words don’t suit me.

    1. J.D. Wininger

      Thank you Ms. Jeannie. So pleased you enjoyed the post ma’am. I hope you do also ma’am. When you do picture Bubba in your mind, I hope he’s laying on his back giving you one of his “Bubba smiles”.

  13. God provides endless spiritual takeaways through our beloved, irresistible, animated, and rascally dogs!
    “There is much in modern-day society I don’t like, but if I’m going to be the Ambassador for Christ I am called to be, then I must also love like Him.”

    Yes! But oh so challenging, isn’t it?

    Your post reminds me of I Peter 3:15 – “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who ask you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” The tail end of that verse is crucial as to how we’re to stand firm on the truth in a divisive, hateful, spiritually blind world.

    1. J.D. Wininger

      That’s a great verse in Scripture for us to ruminate on Ms. Mary. And yes, being a Christian is a great, lifetime challenge, but it’s so worth the sacrifice.

  14. You had me laughing out loud with Bubba and Archie’s antics and then led me smack into a sobering spiritual lesson. Accepting and seeing the good in those different from us can be challenging, but it’s what God calls us to do,

    1. J.D. Wininger

      How true Ms. Candyce. Living as a true Christian means that we must sacrifice our human nature for His divine nature. It is as we are transformed to become more like Him, which I believe happens when we cede more control of our lives to Him — allowing Him to live more fully through us, that the challenge becomes easier. Oh, for that day my friend. God’s blessings my faith-filled friend.

  15. Kathy Collard Miller

    I love the antics of animals. They are sometimes the best metaphor for learning God’s principles. Love your wonderful insights into the abundant life.

    1. J.D. Wininger

      So true Ms. Kathy. I sometimes wonder if God created the animals for the purpose of using them as “teaching tools” for man? Given the He gave man domain over all the animals, I suspect He did so for us to watch over, observe, care for, and learn His precepts from them. One day I’ll know for sure. See you there my friend.

  16. Yes, indeed, bearing one another in love. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Bubba and Archie’s reactions to one another and their relationship. You make a great point, “like” is not necessary because love trumps it every time. The Bible never commands us to like others, but God’s Word absolutely commands us to love everyone.

    1. J.D. Wininger

      Exactly Ms. Karen. Sure appreciate your sharing your thoughts ma’am. “Love trumps like every time.” I’m remembering that one ma’am. Thank you!

  17. I love the description of how your lab bears with Archie. Sometimes I feel like doing that move on people in my life. As usual, you’ve made me think and examine my own attitudes toward others. You did well distinguishing between bearing with others weaknesses while at the same time not condoning sin. That fine line can only be walked with the help of the Spirit.

  18. J.D. Wininger

    😀 Sure good to know I’m not the only one who wants to “lay hands” on someone from time-to-time Ms. Annie. My heart cries out, “I wanna smack ’em, Lord”, but His Spirit reminds me that I’m not that man any longer, I’m His man. Many years ago, when debate could easily turn into argument, I would find my volume increasing with the intensity of my argument. When I sense the Holy Spirit’s presence as those human emotions and desire begin to surge, I find myself speaking more softly, and bridled. My heart has learned to listen. Thank you for your affirming, yet challenging words my friend. God’s blessings Ms. Annie.


    That is funny that I had to go back and look at the photo again. At first I thought, that sure is a big puppy. He looks like Bubba. Then I thought it was Bubba playing with a rope toy. I laughed when I realized that was Archie! Throughout our married life, Parky and I have usually had one older dog and a younger dog. It has been helpful to have the older dog teach the younger dog how to navigate the Allen household. We’ve never had any behavioral issues between them AND we’ve offered the same privileges to each dog. (Bubba may thank me for that. Then again, he may want time alone without Archie.)
    We are tasked as Christians to bear one another’s burdens. It is time-consuming, frustrating, and painstaking but blessings and rewards are forthcoming. Some people, however, including myself, are willing to bear more than the average sister/brother. Praise God, He gives me strength and wisdom.

    1. 😀 Thanks Ms. Karen. It’s 3:20AM and Bubba is laying on the floor beside me in the office. It’s raining outside, and I’m certain his achy joints appreciate the comfort of my soft carpet. Still, Bubba is 100 percent “Farm Dog” and he would be miserable if I didn’t allow him to roam with me (and sometimes ride with me) as I do chores around the Cross-Dubya. He loves to check on everyone, chase the new chickens (not catch them mind you, but gallop after them just enough to stir them up. I’m pretty sure I hear him snickering now and then), and explore the smells. He’ll never be an indoor dog, but he sue seems to be enjoying his climate-controlled evenings. I’m hoping his indoor behavior soon rubs off on Archie. Now, if I can only convince Ms. Diane that it’s okay when she comes out in the morning and Bubba has eaten the entire bowl of Archie’s kibble and drank all his water. LOL And yes, learning to carry only that which God wants us to carry is a sign of maturity. I’ve found that when I do things that God wants other to be doing, I limit His ability to move them into service (i.e., why do I need to do it Lord, J.D. or Ms. Karen will take care of it).

  20. I’m such a dog lover so appreciate hearing about your dogs J.D. I’m glad they get along in a way that reminded you of how Christians are supposed to get along. You’re skilled at finding biblical application in everyday life.
    My grand-dogger is an Australian shepherd. A fluff ball.

  21. Archie sounds a lot like our new kitten. She bounces, leaps, and runs back and forth, while our older cat just watches with a question in her eyes. Was I ever that immature or wild? Yes, you were. I suppose that applies to a lot of us.

    1. Yes ma’am, I think so. Archie will get the “Zoomies” at the oddest times, and he’ll tear through my office and the rest of the house. After a few minutes of running at breakneck speed, he’ll lay down and nap. LOL Bubba seems to tolerate him pretty well, but like your older cat, he just shakes his head (metaphorically). Thank you so much for commenting ma’am.

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