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The Bigger Picture

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Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4

Why is patience a virtue? Sometimes, people just need to be corrected—like your kids when they’re headed for the wall socket with a fork or the server when she brings your steak well done instead of medium rare. That guy at work who keeps taking your lunch out of the fridge needs to be stopped, and committee you’re on at church is about to make a bad decision about buying a piano. You sitting back and being “patient” isn’t going to help anyone.

In those situations, quick action and uncompromising conversations are needed. You’re right to act; there are matters of safety, courtesy, professionalism, and stewardship at stake. But how will you do it? There’s the rub.

Think of all the times Jesus’ disciples messed up—Peter with his ongoing foot-in-mouth disease, or John and James arguing over who should be top dog or calling down fire on entire villages. Sometimes you bluntly share your mind, only to succeed in offending people. So frustrating!

While Jesus did correct His followers’ failures, He was gentle, courteous, and polite. He saw a bigger picture—their overarching needs rather than their momentary misdeeds. Patience, then, seems to be made up of other virtues—love, mercy, and humility among them. Consider God’s patience when others test yours.
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