“Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” Proverbs 16:32 (NIV)
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Colossians 3:12-13 (NKJV)
“Hurting people hurt people!” — words intended to instill compassion toward those who offend us. “Forgiveness is not a feeling, but rather a willing act of obedience to God!” Both great messages I’ve heard preached at my church… until someone hurts someone I love! Bearing with one another in the midst of conflict– especially reoccurring conflict requires long-suffering. Thankfully, God equips His children with patience/long-suffering.
“Long-suffering is attributed to God (Romans 2:4; 9:22; 2 Peter 3:9), of His bearing long with sinners and slowness to execute judgment on them. It is, therefore, one of “the fruit of the Spirit” in man (Galatians 5:22) which Christians are frequently exhorted to cherish and show one toward the other (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 1:11; 3:12, etc.); it belongs, Paul says, to the love, without which all else is nothing.” (Biblestudytools.com)
Although long-suffering can refer to times of poor health, trouble; God also intends us to apply it within our relationships with others. When conflicts arise in my life, am I asking God to help me avoid making snap judgements, assuming the worst about the person, or avoiding the difficult conversations?
In a recent conflict, God showed me the importance of patiently waiting on His timing and His Holy Spirit’s patience to allow Him to move us toward forgiveness and healing. He is faithful, He desires that… “We do all that we can to live in peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18) Long-suffering/patience is a fruit we often want to ignore, but it is essential in building up the body of Christ when conflicts arise.
“Oh Lord, how I long to grow in long-suffering, knowing that it produces love when I need it most, especially in doing all that I can to live in peace with others. Help us to surrender our fear that praying for patience will bring hard lessons. Transform our minds, wills and emotions to embrace long-suffering as good fruit for bringing reconciliation whenever possible. Amen.”
—Submitted by Terri La Brie
(Terri currently lives with her husband Joe, and her Daughter, Danielle and her two young children while Dad is deployed in Afghanistan for a one year tour. Watching Danielle navigate single mom life for one year provides lots of opportunity to witness the importance of long-suffering as she seeks to maintain healthy relationship with hubby from afar! Prayers appreciated.)