God’s Words: Patience
Life transforming words.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
What should we do and how should we act when someone mistreats us or takes advantage of us? How should we respond when someone hurts us or says something ugly to us? Well, we can respond in one of two ways.
First, we can just react and become just like the other person — ugly. We can match them ugly word for ugly word. Or, we can respond the way that God would want us to respond — with what He calls “patience” or “longsuffering”.
What is “longsuffering” and how does it work in my life?
Have you ever met someone who gets angry very easily? You never know when they might just say very ugly things to you. Well, this word “patience” or “longsuffering” represents the exact opposite. It means to wait a long time when something does not go our way or when someone says or does something ugly to us and not get mad. As 1 Corinthians 13:4a says, “Love is patient and kind.” It means to simply remain calm when someone is saying or doing things that normally would annoy us. It is when we are wronged by someone, but do not try and get back at them.
So, what do you think would be the opposite of “longsuffering”? The opposite is ANGER, getting angry with someone. Think of it this way. When we feel ourselves starting to become angry with someone for how they are treating us, it is like a signal from God that we are not responding to that situation the way He would want us to respond. He wants us to remain calm and to not react in an ugly way toward that person. God would never want us to take revenge against someone who had wronged us. He never wants us to respond in a bad way or to become bitter and angry towards them. In James 1:20, we are told, “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
Can God use an angry person?
Probably not. What if God became angry every time that we mistreated someone else or said something ugly to them? He does not do that, but just remains calm and does not become angry with us. He remains calm with us when we sin against Him, and that is the same attitude and response that He wants us to have with those who may sin against us. Just treat them like Christ treats us — gently, patiently, kindly, lovingly.
What do I do when I know that I have an anger problem in my life?
Over 30 years ago I had an anger problem where every couple of months I would lose my temper and become angry with my family about something they had done.The Lord began to speak to my heart and it was as if He said to me that because of my anger that He could not use me. It was during that time that I made a very simple decision that I would never become angry again, and for the last 30 years I have never become angry one time. I feel so much better because I know that no matter how badly someone may mistreat me that I will not become angry with them. It actually allows me to treat them as Christ would treat them. So, they get to see what Christ is like through my life and through my “longsuffering” towards them. It is like Christ is actually living His life through me — or through you. Wow! What an incredible idea — God living His life through our life!!
Recently someone drove their car in the front yard of our home late at night. They were spinning their wheels and going in circles and just ruined our whole front yard. I was away from home that week and when my wife sent me the pictures of the yard, I just felt sorry for the people that did it. So, I took some time to pray for them. I asked God to work in their life and to help them to come to Him. The grass and dirt in my yard are not really that important to me. I can easily fix the yard, but I know that only God can fix the heart of these people who damaged our yard for no good reason. It was great! I was not angry, but actually sensed God’s love for these people. In 1 Peter 3:9, we are told, “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.”
So, the next time that someone mistreats you or says something ugly to you — remain calm, exercise longsuffering, and just remember how God treats us when we do something ugly to someone. If we will do that one simple thing, we will find out how God is able to work through our life. Enjoy His journey
Pray this week:
Lord Jesus, if someone comes into my life this week and tries to make me angry, would you please help me to demonstrate “longsuffering” towards them?
Do you truly believe that you can respond to someone who is treating you in an ugly way with patience and longsuffering?