Forgiveness as necessary for patience – Fruit of the Spirit: Patience, Part 5

As we walk in step with the Spirit, we will have the Spirit’s empowerment to live patiently.  That means we will be patient with others.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:14 Paul writes, “[W]e urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” Wait, Paul…everyone?

What Paul is suggesting is not easy.  Some people are exceedingly difficult for us, right?  We might say back to Paul, “Paul, you don’t know _______ like I know them.”

My guess is that we all have our lists of family members, co-workers, and friends with whom we have a hard time being patient.  Maybe they are annoying.  Maybe they are unkind.  Maybe they think they are funny, but we don’t.  Maybe they are know-it-alls.  Maybe they are the people who won’t shut up.  Maybe they are the people who have hurt you, time and time again.

To those people, Jesus teaches us what is perhaps the ultimate tool of patience.   Forgiveness.  Forgiveness is the practice of those who are patient.  Forgiveness is rooted in God’s patience.  Think about the extreme lengths God went to forgive us, through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  He forgave our sins.  Think about how patient he was with us in his forgiveness of us.  So God says, you who have been forgiven your sins, you now forgive others who sin against you. 

Forgiving patience doesn’t mean that allow people to abuse you.  You may need to set boundaries with them so they don’t perpetuate the hurt. 

But you can still forgive them as God has forgiven you, even if you no longer have a relationship with them. 

Thankfully, in most of our difficult relationships, with most of the people who we have a hard time being patient with, we will not have to cut off the relationship.  But we will have to grow patience with them, and for them.

That is partly why God has given us his Spirit to be with us, to live in us.  Remember Romans 8.  The Spirit helps us in our weakness.  The Spirit intercedes for us, with groans that words cannot express.  God is with us.  Though it seems like God is far away or asleep, we would do well to cultivate the knowledge that the Spirit is living with us.  Think about that.  God in us.  Do you need to dwell on that?  Maybe daily?  God with us.

In the Pause App, the one phrase that is repeated in nearly all of the prayers is “God, heal my union with you.”  I love that because we can feel distant from God.  And yet, God the Spirit is with us.  We have union with God.  That means when life is hard, God is with us.  Jesus said to his disciples that after he left them, a comforter, a counselor, would come to them on his behalf.  That comforter and counselor is the Holy Spirit.  There is a very biblical basis for disciples of Jesus to spend time, lots of time, growing our relationship with the Holy Spirit. 

What do you need to do to grow patience in your life?  Do you need repent of your impatience?  Has your impatience caused you to act in ungodly and inappropriate ways to others?  Do you need to confess your sin to them?  What will you do to walk more in step with the Spirit in the area of patience?

Photo by Felix Koutchinski on Unsplash

Published by joelkime

I love my wife, Michelle, and our four kids and two daughters-in-law. I serve at Faith Church and love our church family. I teach a course online from time to time, and in my free time I love to read and exercise, especially running,

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