I was recently prompted to consider the virtue of patience with others.
The Bible celebrates being patient with one another. For instance:
A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a dispute.
Colossians 3:12-13 says,
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
If we stop here, we could be crushed under the weight of the requirement. You should be patient! God says so!
So an additional question: why be patient?
I notice that these verses are not moralistic but offer us wisdom and context for why patience makes sense. For instance: to calm disputes, to be righteous as God desires, and because the Lord has forgiven us.
But this raises another question: how can we be more patient?
There are various popular techniques - like deep breathing - that might help calm our bodies down.
More fundamentally, I think we need to be patient with ourselves. Ok, I am quick to anger. How does God respond to this problem in my life? With patience and forgiveness. Let me sit with that for a while in the presence of a good and patient Friend.
And more: God is not looking down on me, but the Holy Spirit dwells within me. How patient has the Holy Spirit been with me as a constant companion?
If we “take our time” to meditate on our friendship with a patient God and nourish our souls with the memorization and treasuring of these verses on patience, our inmost selves will be strengthened. In our poverty of spirit and need for God, we will be transformed into people who represent God’s kingdom.
What has helped you become a more patient person?