“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” – Joyce Meyer
“Be patient and understanding. Life is too short to be vengeful or malicious.” – Phillips Brooks
“Patience is a virtue and I am learning patience. It’s a tough lesson.” – Elon Musk
Some picture patience as being laid back, nothing bothers you, you don’t mind waiting in a long line and you pause before answering a question. It is like being a pro-valium poster model. Sure, I suppose we can run with these…or walk, if we are patient enough.
Paul made a list of some of the things, patience being the first, that are powered by love in 1st Corinthians 13.
Oh, you’ve read that one? Great! I want to pick it apart a little, if I may. No, I haven’t come up with any new revelations, here. But, maybe a different perspective.
Now, back to patience. Thank you for being patient with my brief ramble.
The first thing Paul mentions is kind of a pinnacle of the attributes of love. We can read in scripture about how God said to be patient and how we are won over by His patience (Rom. 2), besides His love and tolerance. We are encouraged to be patient in a few places in scripture. But, what is this stuff about being patient and why is being patient part of love?
Let me share this…I remember a former pastor (among others in my life) telling me, “I have been patient with this/you up until now…”. Well, if you were truly patient, you might not have set a time limit for it.
As we walk through the famous Chapter 13, we may notice a little trend…this love thing shows a setting aside of self for the benefit of another. Being patient is more than just being able to wait for someone or wait for them to do something. I will attempt a little Greek research, now.
The word for patient in Greek is makrothumei in 1 Cor. 13. Patience is makrothumeo…broken down, this is makro, which means distant, far off or large (like the prefix we know, macro). The other half is from thumos which has to do with temper, passion, emotion. If you ask me, it sounds a bit like self-control.
Patience. Set your emotion a far distance away.
What? Are you serious? I can’t do that! I feel it boiling up inside me and I have to either say or do something!
To be impatient is me controlling the situation. That is…this is wrong, this person is doing that, my circumstances are like this, etc. If love puts me aside, then patience would be me putting my emotions aside and not letting them selfishly dictate my words or actions.
Jesus showed us how to be patient. Examples; Peter, James and John, teachers of the Law, the many crowds and the millenia of humanity before and since. He created humanity and has put up with a whole bunch of crap, ever since. He has great and perfect patience.
After all, He has been putting up with me.
Grin all you want…He puts up with you, too!
If we see love as the nucleus (the central and most important part of an object, movement, or group, forming the basis for its activity and growth), then patience is one of those things that spins off of it.
Our love for the Lord should allow us to wait upon Him. Our love for others should cause us to tolerate their differences, downfalls, imperfections, quirks and even their oddities. If love is patient, then my emotions take a backseat for the good of another and for the work of the Lord.
It is not just waiting in the matter of time. It is a matter of considering another more highly, that their well-being, their feelings…their soul…as more important than whatever agenda we feel to be more important.