September 24, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.”—Proverbs 14:29 (NIV)
Have you ever felt impatient in a difficult situation or with a difficult person? If we’re being honest here, each of us have experienced this before because we’re only human! You can see it in children at a very young age—this impatience to wait for things they want. We still get impatient now, it just expresses itself differently. We can be impatient with traffic, with our food at a restaurant, or with a website loading, but when we think about the way our impatience reflects on our relationships with real people, it becomes more significant than just a little bit of road rage.
Think about the weight of being impatient with your spouse, or your child, or your friend. The frustration creates disunity because there’s an expectation not being met by someone you care for. When we get impatient with strangers, we’re becoming frustrated and upset for the same reason. It’s probably even easier to feel this way with a stranger because we don’t know their story or care about them in the same way.
In today’s Scripture, patience is connected to great understanding. I believe this is because when we choose to not think about another person’s life, we more easily act impatiently with them. It also goes the other way around! When we practice patience with people, our hearts and minds are open so we can better understand the people around us.
Why does it matter though, that we cultivate patience and seek understanding between us and other people? It matters because that is what Jesus has done and continues to do with us! Jesus is the perfect example of what it means to be patient and seek understanding. Philippians 2 reminds us that Jesus, though being in His very nature God, did not try to hold onto His equality with God; rather, He humbled Himself to become a servant, take on humanity, and be obedient to the point of death! He can understand what it’s like to feel emotions, to have parents and siblings, to experience the loss of a loved one, to experience the joy of a sweet community, to experience the pain of loneliness, and to experience the suffering of persecution. We have a Savior who understands us, so we should also model this with how we seek to understand other people.
We also have a Savior who is patient with us when we struggle to trust or obey Him. As David wrote in Psalm 103:8 (NIV), “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” Not only is this a reason in itself to practice patience in our lives, but as children of God and representatives of Christ, we’re also commanded to practice patience with others! In Ephesians 4:2 (NIV), Paul writes, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Patience is a virtue that comes alongside humility, gentleness, and love. We must receive the grace of God first in order to extend grace to others, and that is what patience is all about!
On our own, it’s not easy to exercise patience, but when we fix our eyes on Christ, allow His Spirit to work in our hearts, and seek to understand the people around us, then our patience will grow!
Pause: Where do you struggle being impatient with people? What are the reasons why you usually get impatient with others?
Practice: In a conversation with someone today, ask intentional questions with the desire to try and understand them and their story better. This will help you practice listening and cultivate your patience.
Pray: Gracious Father, thank You for being perfectly patient with me. You never fail to shower me with grace, yet You are also faithful to convict me and lead me in Your truth. When I’m struggling to surrender parts of my life to You, You wait patiently yet continually push me to do so because, in Your patience, You never give up on me. Help me to exercise this sort of patience with the people in my life. I want to reflect You through the way I care for others and treat people with patience. Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.