A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly. Pr 14:29
“You have the patience of a Saint” How often we hear this phrase stated flippantly of someone’s perseverance with a boisterous child or reaction in a traffic jam. Yet the true biblical perspective of patience is more akin to long suffering; enduring the sins of others. In the Hebrew Bible God is referred to as the long suffering God whose love endures forever. His suffering is wrought through the hands of his disobedient children – all of us bar one.
Patience is not only about enduring a long wait, it is also about enduring insults, provocation, and mistreatment without resentment, anger, or bitterness. Why put up with abuse? Because patience is also an expression of compassion. Because we are compassionate, we tolerate the faults of others. Because we are strong and they are weak, we accept their abuse with a smile and wish them well (Gallozzi).
The complete embodyment of Divine Patience is seen in the suffering servant – Jesus Christ (Isaiah 53:3). Enduring insults (Mt 13:57), hatred (Jn 15:8), and death threats (Jn 8:59), Christ’s life, well before the crusifixtion, displayed amazing patience. He patientlty endured the sins of those He came to die for. Through it all He continually acted in wisdom, compassion and with a depth of understanding that confounded his mockers. Rather than losing His temper, and thus losing His mind, He was composed and in control.
God’s patience with our sins and flaws is unfathomable. How He endures our selfish nature, our greed, our indifference and our transgressions is a witness to his undying mercy (Micah 7:18). Rather than please Him; we extend to Him the title of the long suffering God.
As we embrace Christ within us, so to His patience is to be extended to others. We all fall short of the mark (Rom 3:23), thus we all need grace and patience when dealing with each other’s sinfulness. Through such we then develop a greater understanding.