What In The World is Longsuffering?
Longsuffering is not a word that is common in our every day English. It is however one of the very important virtues of a Christian. I checked out the dictionary meaning of this word and got the following, ‘enduring injury, trouble, or provocation long and patiently’.
I have discovered that the virtues of a true Christian is a reflection of the nature of God. Our generation is one in which the human rights movement has a significant influence in the body polity of the people.
I believe in the respect for human rights. Without respect for human rights, there would be so much abuse and disrespect for the lives of individuals.
I wonder however what would happen, if God were to exercise His full rights as God. I know for sure that I would not be alive today if that were so. The scriptures tell us that, ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Roman 3:23) ‘For the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23)
The demand of God’s justice is that as a result of our sins, we deserve death. So how come we are not dead? The answer is in the second part of Romans 6:23, ‘But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’.
Longsuffering is a branch of God’s goodness. It is the ability of God to delay the just execution of His judgment upon those deserving of it. He continually waits for the sinner to turn to Him even when the sinner cares nothing of Him. He waits for the saint who is walking in disobedience even when he hears the still small voice calling him to turn back to Him.
So many times God’s people tended to query God’s longsuffering character. Jonah could not understand why God would not go ahead to rain His judgment on Nineveh as contained in the message sent through Him. After all, Jonah had just gone through the harrowing experience of living in the belly of a whale because he did not want to deliver God’s message to them, probably because he thought that Nineveh deserved that judgment and did not need the opportunity to repent.
The prophet Jeremiah was compelled to ask God, ‘You are always righteous, O LORD, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? (Jer 12:1)
Many of us are very impatient. We listen less but speak more. Other people’s point of view is less important because we believe our doctrine is the authentic one. We have little patient for the weak in faith. We whip those who falter with hurtful words which push them away from God and the church, rather than draw them to Him. This negates
The instruction of the Apostle James, ‘My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry’ (James 1:19)
As God’s children, we are also expected to exhibit the virtue of longsuffering. Daily we face people who would push us to the precipice of anger. How long are we prepared to go in accommodating those who wrong us? Are our rights so important that we ignore the inner prompting of the Spirit to quietly resolve issues with those who wrong us?
Longsuffering does not mean standing by without doing the right thing, it means giving our antagonists the opportunity to see God’s peace through us.
Steve O. Popoola
© June 2009, Biblepraise Fellowship Online.
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the webmaster of Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. British by birth, He currently resides in Lagos, Nigeria with his wife Maris and their children; Praise, Stephanie and Precious. He works as an IT professional in a bank. He presently serves as Church Secretary and Heads the Music Ministry in his local church . He loves to encourage and inspire through speaking forums. He is the Moderator/Editor of Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, email@example.com