“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
Do you get a charge of adrenaline through arguing?
When someone criticizes you, are you defending yourself for days on end, even if only in your own mind? Do you spend inordinate amounts of energy attempting to prove critics wrong, saying, “I’ll show THEM!”
These thoughts and responses tend to consume a lot of mental, physical and spiritual energy.
It requires abundant patience fruit to step back from an argument or defending ourselves. And sometimes we are left without a choice-certain issues and attacks can and should be met with a measured yet strong response. However, as you are thinking about defending yourself or fighting back, make sure that you are not responding out of impatience-wanting to speed a matter to resolution or conclusion.
In other words, don’t be a hothead!
Showing your impatience or frustration weakens you in your relationship with the other person. Impatience tends to build a wall between you and other people, whereas patience builds a bridge.
Think of the example of Christ before His accusers, which is foreshadowed for us in Isaiah 53:7
“He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.”
If you are cultivating the fruit of patience, evaluate whether saying nothing is better than responding out of anger or frustration. If you can have this demeanor when someone else is upset, you have the power to diffuse an otherwise explosive encounter. Pray for wisdom to choose the response that demonstrates the most patience for the weakness, turmoil or confusion of another.
A great lady I know has a “go to” response when someone is saying something disagreeable, difficult or critical. She smiles and says softly, “I understand.” There is an element of humor in this response because you are not telling the other person exactly what you understand (i.e….they are horribly misguided). But this response allows you to verbalize that you have heard and processed what they have said.
If you find impatience welling up when dealing with another person or difficult situation, take a moment to pause, pray and reflect and seek to return to patience.
“Return into thy rest, O my soul: for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.”
All the Best in 2013!