Some time ago, I was driving down a road in St Louis and I needed to turn off at the next exit. However, someone was in the exit lane next to me, so I slowed down, way down, to wait for an opening. As I was slowing down, a large pick up truck with huge tires raced up behind me honking it’s horn. As I continued to slow, the truck raced around on my right. I saw the driver through the window, shaking his fist, yelling something. I was glad my windows were rolled up. He cut right in front of me and roared on his way. As I finally exited the road, I thought, that was not a patient man, that was an angry man. I didn’t have any warm fuzzy feelings toward him. I would think twice before trying to build a friendship with him. But, I must admit, I’ve had some angry thoughts and words about slow drivers on the road myself, especially when I’m in a hurry. Getting angry seems to come easier than being patient.
Patience is an essential character trait that you need to develop in order to have strong relationships. You can’t talk about patience without talking about anger, because the word patience means “slow to get angry.” The Greek word for patience is “makrothumos”, where makro means “long or slow” and thumos means “anger or wrath.” So patience means you have a long fuse, you don’t blow up easily, you manage your anger.
NIV Proverbs 14:29 A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly. It’s wise to learn how to develop patience, it’s foolish to be quick tempered. An angry person seems powerful, but he doesn’t accomplish anything contructive. In fact, anger weakens and destroys relationships. On the other hand, a patient person overlooks wrongs in others and strengthens his relationships. NLT Proverbs 19:11 People with good sense restrain their anger; they earn esteem by overlooking wrongs.
For a more indepth treatment of this topic, listen to my February 20, 2005 message entitled Developing Patience