Developing Patience

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

1 thought on “Developing Patience”

  1. I agree with you.

    Without patience, spiritual development is at a standstill, or worse, a backslide.

    Impatience is a form of mild anger.

    Think about how you feel at a supermarket. The person in front of you yells at the checker. Not only does she feel bad (and can’t leave the situation), you hear it and it affects you too. She feels bad, embarresed, angry, and in response gets flustered and takes longer.

    Flipside: It’s your turn, the checker is flustered. making mistakes. “my scanner is acting up” she apologises.
    I lean on the counter, put my chin on my hand, smile and say, “Take your time, I have all the time in the world”.

    The look of relief on her face is worth it. She takes a breath, slows for a minute, scans a little slower as she regroups, and is soon back up to speed.

    That’s not to say I haven’t wanted to scream in fustration; However, if i’m honest with myself, I’ve usually arranged things so that I’m running short on the time I needed.

    Things are going to take the time they take. I may not be able to control my enviornment, I AM however responsible for my reactions to them.

    My negative reactions are A L W A Y S a product of my pride, or my lack of patience.

    Happiness and patience to you. :}

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