How do we become more patient with others?

Hi friends,

I was recently prompted to consider the virtue of patience with others.

The Bible celebrates being patient with one another. For instance:

Proverbs 15:18

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.

James 1:19-20

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?

Patience is not just for anger, but also for it’s cousin – annoyance. :laughing: I find that I most often show anger/annoyance when I am…

  1. getting defensive about something. (That is, feeling attacked.)
  2. getting frustrated by roadblocks, stuck-ness, confusion or lost-ness.

In the Gospels, I never once see Jesus getting defensive. (Do correct me if I am wrong.) There is an open-ness to his interactions with others where he does not come across as threatened. Even though the religious leaders wielded a considerable amount of power – and sought to use it against him – he still meets them with confidence. Or “authority” as some of the Gospel writers note. His anger is directed towards them, but not for his own sake, but on behalf of others.

If Jesus ever felt stuck, trapped, confused or lost its not recorded. Perhaps he was less concerned with realizing a goal or ticking a box than we are? :woman_shrugging:

As for me, unearthing just what it is that is angering/annoying me is step 1. If I can pinpoint it, I can better work through it. It’s not just a person making me angry; it’s what that person represents. It’s not just a situation; it’s often what the unresolved-ness of the situation means about me…and, on the flip-side, what a resolved situation would mean for/about me.

Patience is the practice of remaining curious. It is compassion. It’s being slow to jump to conclusions. It is non-condemnation of a person in spite of condemnation of his/her actions.

I don’t necessarily default to curiosity, but the more I practice it, both with myself and with others, the more it comes naturally.