Apostle Paul writes “Love is patient… love is kind”. He goes on to say it isn’t arrogant, not self-seeking. Ouch.
So consider this a kind of Part Two to my recent blog on patience…
A good pastor friend of mine asked me about someone who might teach a group of leaders at a larger gathering on the subject of humility. I immediately said “Not me, that’s for sure” and mentioned a solid friend whom we both respect who I thought could do an admirable job.
Tonight the thought came to me after years of considering love, humility and patience, and it’s a fresh thought that just might hold water: the truly humble are typically extremely patient.
They’re not wimps, automatic pushovers, freaked out at bullies or mean, “let-me-demonstrate my power” types, they’re just so thoughtful, patient and non-arrogant that they overcome, they endure through the flack that comes their way. Another point in that 1 Corinthians 13 text via Paul: love “endures all things”.
Some reading this are of a minority race, ethnicity, subculture or perhaps thinking “Right Glenn, you’re a white man in a position of respect so are you calling beaten-down people who are discriminated against, sometimes shot and killed for being black, herded onto reservations for being red, judged as rubbish simply for being brown, Latina/Latino, Arabic, Asian or poor, or etc., etc. -to be patient about justice and equity?! No. If you track my life, words, lyrics and actions I think you’ll find I’m an advocate for you throughout my lifetime. It’s ME who has had to learn patience with my fellow white privileged citizens.
Solomon tells us “There is a time for every purpose under heaven” and goes on to say things plenty of us would rather not hear and likely would disagree with UNLESS we get our way out of the situation and issue. Reality, that.
Yet there is this core thing, that in human relationships for the professing follower of Jesus, patience is both a command of God, a fruit of God the Holy Spirit and in fact a revelation of God’s very nature!
He calls us as sons and daughters, as brothers and sisters or certainly those who may possibly become (spiritually in Christ) brothers and sisters in the faith, to emulate HIM and the character traits of our common Father: Love, patience, kindness.
There is a time to demonstrate, to call out a government, a society, those in authority everywhere and anywhere to change, to consider how to encourage what the Lord would define as justice even when it costs us, makes us uncomfortable -absolutely! And yet…
For many of us all too often our lack of patience, love and grace toward those with whom we disagree with triggers a… trigger. A blast. An attitude that does not correspond to any of the nine fruits of the Spirit in Galatians chapter five.
Somewhere between a default to either fight or flee comes the very patience of God, or it does not and hence we destroy rather than create for those most in need.
A core verse in my thinking about all of this is: 2 Peter 3.9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
The context is that more people would reach a genuine saving relationship with Jesus before He returns and this world is “folded up like a scroll”. All the power trips, all the arrogance will melt in His presence. The “powers that be” will amount to spit in the oceans when we stand (kneel… lie flat?) before the Lord of Lords in that moment. Every knee shall bow. Every.
So what of patience in you and I dear reader?
Indeed, we each have work to do and it begins with His work in us.
Thank God for His patience! May we manifest more of it in human relationships, against the all-too-typical quick and often foolish judgment against one another -because “Love is patient, love is kind…”
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn