Patience. This is one virtue often misunderstood in our world. A patient person is often seen as foolish and cowardly because they do not respond to offenses or infringement of their rights in a predictable manner.
Many fights and quarrels would have been averted if one or either of the parties exercised patience. Many of the road accidents happening on our roads are the product of impatience. The vice of impatience has robbed many people of their joy, destroyed marriages and caused untold hardship to others.
If patience is good, how come we find it difficult to exercise it? I believe it is because impatience is the easy way out. It takes a lot of work to maintain an even temperament in the face of provocation. To lash out however, is much easier. We feel better when we have given the offending party a piece of our mind.
Proverbs 19:11 teaches us, "A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offence". It takes a wise man or woman to exercise the virtue of patience. Discretion teaches us to defer our anger especially when we have not evaluated the reason behind the provocation. By the time we finish our evaluation, we would have poured cold water on our anger and speak with clear reason, devoid of the harshness which usually accompanies unbridled anger.
It takes a patient man to be a true servant of God. The enemy is busy looking for ways to provoke us to sin. There is a very thin line between anger and sin. This is why the Bible warns us, "In your anger, do not sin, Do not let the sun go down when you are angry" (Eph 4:26) I have seen Christians so angry that they say things shocking even to unbelievers. Anger makes us lose control. Men have killed their wives out of anger, women have shot their husbands out of rage. These things happen every day.
Jesus is our perfect example of patience. Many times He was provoked by the religious leaders during the course of His ministry here on earth. They called him names and refused to believe in His testimony as the Son of God. What would you have done if you were Jesus? I know what I would do. I probably would have commanded the angels to deal with those who dared speak to me rudely and replace them with those who would fear God. Would Jesus have been able to save the world that way? I don?t think so.
Patience is one virtue that should create a distinction between us and those who do not know God. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. It is in us and we need to exercise it for it to become a part of us. James was speaking to the disciples, "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." (James 1:19 -20)
A man whose fuse is short will not find it easy to live the life of a true Christian. There is so much wisdom in James' advice. We listen more and take our time before we talk. When we listen, we are able to hear both the spoken and unspoken words. When people speak words to hurt us sometimes, there is usually an underlying reason. It takes patience to discover what this reason is and be able to proffer help and assistance.
Some of us get impatient when things are not working our way. We want everything fast - instant coffee, higher internet bandwidth, faster cars, faster computers and so on. When we get to a point where we are forced to slow down, we get jumpy and irritated.
I have discovered that sometimes, God creates circumstances to slow us down for our benefit. The next time you are forced to slow down, rather than get upset and irritated, ask God for grace to be patient and listen to what He has to tell you
Definition of patience, "the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like" (Dictionary.com)