“4 Love is patient…” (1 Corinthians 13:4 a)
When in the midst of political discourse, it seems we always reach a point of exasperation. Our point is not taken. Our analysis is disregarded. The other participants have fallen into the “yeah, but” routine. We have reached the end of our patience, so we snap some witty rejoinder, and the battle is joined. What began as a reasoned discussion of lofty ideas becomes instead a free-for-all, no holds barred, take no prisoners melee. The world watches, popcorn in hand, roaring at the smell of blood in the air.
Time and again, we Christians, the fellowship of saints, find ourselves ensnared by the urge toward self-righteous indignation. We criticize the opposition as rude, intolerant hypocrites. We criticize one another for demonstrating unchristian behavior. Then turn around and engage in such behavior ourselves, justifying it under some variation of “these people would try the patience of a saint!” God has called us all to be saints, and His word tells us here that there can be no limit to the patience we display. There is no place in Christian love for the quick jab, the impatient quip because the folks we are talking to have become tiresome. Other verses tell us to shake the dust from our feet in protest against such people, but nowhere in the Bible are we told to engage in sloppy ridicule for the purposes of relieving our frustration. God calls us to love patiently in all circumstances.
As Christians, we must correct our brothers and sisters in Christ with patient understanding. We must also understand that those who do not follow Christ are still of this world, where impatience is the natural state of humanity. We cannot expect them to demonstrate what they have never seen. It is up to us, as the face and voice of God’s love in the world, to model His unyielding, unbending, unending patient love for them.
Father, forgive us for succumbing to the impatience of our human love. We know that we are called to demonstrate Your perfect love to the world, but we know our own patience will never be enough. Please fill us with Your Holy Spirit, let it infuse all we do with Your patient love so the world will come to know You. In Jesus Name, Amen.