excerpted from Living Large for God: Developing Patience and Perseverance in an Impatient World by Susan Lee
Patience with other people helps establish understanding, empathy and compassion. Patient people take the time to process what they go through, and attempt to identify which of the things that annoy and bother us are valid and need attention, and which are petty and picky. This results in better, more fulfilling relationships with spouses, friends, children and bosses.
People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness. (Proverbs 14: 29)
Impatience with other people often happens when we think that person is in some way hampering our goals and objectives. We may even think they are challenging or condemning us. Because we aren’t feeling support for our desires, we get annoyed and impatient.
The truth of the matter is that we are all approaching life from a different perspective – and that perspective for each and every one of us has “me” in the center with all other people and circumstances rippling out from our center.
Our goal as Christians is to learn to take “me” from the center of our perspective and replace it with “God.” On the occasions we pull that off, our first reaction to an irritating person becomes not to complain about them both verbally and inwardly, but to deal with it with optimistic endurance by becoming more patient and compassionate. We learn to overlook their shortcomings, knowing that we probably have a few of our own!
Our ability to replace “me” with “God” and to deal with bothersome people with patience and understanding doesn’t happen overnight. Like a bodybuilder must work to develop their muscles and grow strong, we need to take the time to work on our patience toward other people.
Susan Lee is the author of Living Large for God: Developing Patience and Perseverance in an Impatient World, coming soon on Kindle. Join our mailing list to be notified when the book will be available.