Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.
1 Corinthians 13
In a world where everyone seems to be in a hurry and no one has time for anyone but themselves, the patient person is definitely a counter cultural and attractive person. Our society has changed so much and now everything’s meant to be about the individual: What was your experience shopping with us? What would you like to change? What did you like? How did you feel? What can we do for you? We have been subtly groomed to believe that our views, feelings and opinions outweigh others and we are then surprised when people are not patient with us or respect our views when subconsciously we might be mirroring the same attitude.
The author and public Christian speaker Joyce Meyer said, “Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting”
So how can patience enhance our relationships?
DISCUSS: With whom or in what situations did you see your partner display impatience before you got married?
I can definitely state with confidence that very few people will find impatience an attractive quality in their future partner. We all know we are not perfect and there are certain areas of our lives we are blind to because they are just an intrinsic part of our character and personality. It always takes those close to us to highlight attitudes, behaviours or temperaments we display that don’t reflect nicely on us but the challenge always remains whether we allow ourselves to be challenged or corrected or we respond with a defence.
There is the story of the person praying to God and stating I want patience and I want it now.
People say opposites attract and whilst this is not a scientific fact we can clearly see this displayed in human behaviour. As a follower of Jesus, I believe that God brings partners into our lives who ultimately stir the waters of our lives so the sediments that have settled and just become innate are revealed so something can be done.
THE BLESSING OF PATIENCE
If you imagine the difference in hunting experience of a lion born in the wild and a lion born in the zoo then we might begin to understand the challenges of undeveloped areas of our emotions or temperaments.
The lion born in the wild would have sharpened its sense of smell, pick of prey, timings and risk whilst the lion born in the zoo will most likely have only competed with its siblings for food fed to them by zookeepers.
Sometimes the impatient person is only displaying what they know, habits they have learned and areas of their life that have been unchallenged. So telling them to be patient without displaying patience to them would be counterproductive.
I think that is why Paul, in his writing to the church in Corinth, states firstly that ‘love is patient’. If we want to measure how we love people and those close to us it starts with our ability to show patience. This is what God does to us – he knows us and all our failings, yet he loves and stays with us.
The bible writer, Paul, in his letter to the church in Galatia said So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. Galatians 6:9-10
So how do we make patience an integral part of our relationship?
The English author and writer William Shakespeare said How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?
Patience means we need to become experts at the waiting game.
Wounds do heal by degrees never instantly.
So how can we ‘Be patient’ in our most important relationships?
1. You are not perfect – Recognise you are not perfect and neither is your partner. That is why Jesus spoke about the plank in our eyes whilst we see specks in others eyes.
2. Learn to use words graciously – if we can talk people into change then there are enough words in the world to make us all saints. Are our words filled with healing spices or poisonous venom?
3. Look beyond yourself – Most of our impatience with others is actually a reflection of our expectations and controlling tendencies. In the Christian bible people are made in the image of God not ours. All we can ever do is be an example to follow.
4. Communicate – If you have a relationship with God then that is the starting point. Let God know your heart and search it as you share your frustrations and then talk to your partner.
5. Cultivate patience – we can consciously make patience a habit to develop. If driving brings the worst out of you and you are impatient on the road then you have a decision to make every time you get in a car – choose right.
Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. Spring will come. Robert H. Schuller