Be Patient with All?
By: Anne Peterson
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak; be patient with them all. - 1 Thessalonians 5:14
As a wife, a mother of two grown children, and grandmother of five, I would say I get plenty of opportunities to encourage. I try to lift up those who are sad and I try to empower the kids when they think they can’t do something, but if I’m honest with you, when it comes to patience, there is one person with whom I’m not very patient. And if you guessed my spouse, you’d be right.
Even on days when the grandchildren come over, I feel like Jekyll and Hyde. One moment I’m smiling and playing with the kids. I’m helping them do something or listening to their stories, one more time. I’m happy to do it. Being a grandma is a good fit for me.
But when things start to get stressed, I change so quickly. No, not in front of the kids… I seem to save this part of me for my husband.
Reading this verse in 1 Thessalonians, the word, ‘all’, jumps out at me. God wants me to be patient with all.
Even though our partners may appear strong at times, there are other times when they need encouragement, when their hearts are heavy. There are even times they don’t feel able to face the challenges before them.
For those times, God can give us words to say. And those words can be laced with kindness, for Colossians 3:12 tells us to have a heart of compassion and to put on kindness. It’s a choice we have.
You can probably think of people who act nice, but you know it’s not authentic. God wants us to be genuinely kind, like he is. Even when the Holy Spirit points out ways we need to grow, he does it in the kindest way. I’ll hear Him say, “Anne, that doesn’t look good on you.”
And later, I will apologize to my husband for being unkind. For using words that did not lift him up, but instead were curt.
When Jesus interacted, he was respectful, patient, kind. Even when they mistreated him. It baffles me, at times, that we can choose kindness to those we don’t even know, yet, be less kind to those inside our homes.
The golden rule found in Luke 6:31, reminds us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. But we don’t always think of that interacting with others. We like it when people extend grace to us, but we’re not always as generous.
And when a harsh word is spoken, we’d rather react in like manner than do what we’re instructed to do in Proverbs 15:1. To give a soft answer. We’d rather react in anger. We even try to convince ourselves it will feel good. After all, we were hurt, weren’t we? Why can’t we hurt them back? They deserve it, don’t they?
But the truth is, God shows us grace. Just like he did when he forgave us. Pure grace. There were no strings dangling. In Romans 5:8, it says God demonstrated his love for us while we were yet sinners. His love was so gracious he gave it, knowing some would not accept his gift. We didn’t deserve it. So the next time we’re tempted to react instead of responding with grace, we need to remember God didn’t give us what we truly deserved. He will empower us to do the same.
And the more we choose to be gracious, the easier it will become. Our grandkids are coming again today. I’ll have the perfect opportunity to exercise this myself. Yes, I’ll do a lot of laughing today. I’m sure I’ll be wearing my smile till I lay down tonight. But, I will also try to respond with love to each person in my house. And that includes my husband. God tells me to be patient with all.
Anne Peterson and her husband, Michael have been married for 43 years. Anne is a poet, speaker, published author of 16 books, including her latest book, Always There: Finding God's Comfort Through Loss. Anne has also written and published children's books, such as The Crooked House, and Sonny Follows His Heart. Sign up for Anne's newsletter at www.annepeterson.com and receive a free eBook by clicking the tab. Or connect with her on Facebook.
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