Love is Patient

Ephesians 4:2

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

James 1:19-20

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

It is often said that patience is a virtue.  This is often quickly mentioned and no time is actually given for reflection as to what this actually means however.  A person with more patience may reflect upon the statement – this is the catch-22.

Patience is one of the hardest things to come by.  It is something that can only be learned through experience.  If you are serious about becoming patient, your patience will be tested on many occasions before you learn to be patient.

Some translations use the word longsuffering rather than patient and this really is a good word.  If you’ve ever been forced to wait in a long line while someone fumbles with their money or writes a check, it really does feel like suffering.

The idea that love is patient is wrapped up in the word longsuffering.  Love is sacrifice.  Sacrifice means suffering at times.  If a person’s natural reaction is to lash out when they are offended, then they must learn to hold back.

As Ephesians says above, we must bear with one another in love.  This means that we bite our tongue when we really want to say something back.  It means that no matter how much the person ahead in line or on the road annoys us, we don’t lose our temper.

Being patient is not easy but it is important if we are going to love someone.  If we can’t be patient with someone, it is difficult to be kind to them.  And as we dwell on what someone has done that has caused us to lose patience, we keep a record of wrongs.  It goes on like this.  There is a reason that Paul listed patience first in 1 Corinthians 13.  It might be the most difficult to achieve but also the most important.

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