...warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:14
PATIENCE may be an unfortunate casualty in today’s hurried, pressurized society. I wonder: do we have less of it today, or did we just started with very little? I can’t answer that question -- I’d have to leave it to the philosophers and theologians.
I remember reading in the Greek, there are two main words for “patient” – one means patience with circumstances, and the other, patience with people. The word in the verse above is the second word – patience with people.
A “patient” person is one who is blessed with “a long temper”. They can put up with people. They can “bear with” obnoxious people because they are long-tempered. They are patient with difficult people. Patient people are slow to react because there is a delay mechanism built into their attitude.
“Love is patient and kind…” writes Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4.
Paul was writing to the Christians in Thessalonica when he urged them to “be patient to all men”
Everyone knows an annoying person. The difficulty with this attitude is that we are to be patient with “all” people – annoying ones included.
To “be patient” we ought to learn not to react—like for like—when someone provokes us. To be patient calls for maturity. And mature people should not react in the face of provocation. Instead, even in the face of that aggravation, they are there for people, even maddening people. Not only do they not strike back but, to the contrary, they help those who hurt them.
They do not render evil for evil but, on the contrary, blessing. The patient person goes the extra mile in the face of aggravation. They make the extra effort to help others.
I don’t think we are expected to agree with every one or share their opinions, but I do believe that we must free ourselves from resentment toward them. They may snub us, ignore us and treat us with disrespect but God expects us to carry a long temper toward them. We give them the benefit of the doubt.
Patience is a quality we cannot borrow from others. That is why we must not run short of it. The family, the church will be a happier place for it when we learn to be patient.
Pastor Robert Chew