Be patient with the faults of others; they may have to be patient with yours. Make your words sweet for you may have to eat them.

When we look back and remember how many dumb things we have said and done in our lives we marvel at the patience that our heavenly Father has for us. We should learn from this to be patient with one another. We need to treat each other as if we were all wearing a badge which said, “PBPWMGINFWMY” on it. These letters stand for “Please be patient with me, God is not finished with me yet!”

If God is patient and longsuffering to us, why are we not more patient and longsuffering with each other? When God revealed his goodness to Moses “the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”

When the Lord was angry with Israel, Moses took that opportunity to remind his heavenly Father what God had told him. “The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression.”

The Psalmist cried out, “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”

Paul tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Why are we so short tempered towards each other? Why do we snap at those we love and often find ourselves acting in unkind ways and saying mean things just because we have lost our temper?

True love does not do these things. “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things; believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

At one time we used to become very impatient with dumb things other drivers were doing, until we tried to teach a loved one how to drive and we suddenly appreciated others being courteous to a sometimes erratic driver. After this, we became more tolerant of the misdeeds of others.

Today people kill each other for minor infractions in traffic. All of us have been guilty of doing wrong things, not just in driving, but in life. Why are we not more patient with each other? Do we want God to treat us as we treat others? He promises us that He will. For this reason the mercy of God may be quite limited to us. Not because He wants to limit His mercy, but because He will only show us as much love, as much mercy, as much compassion as we show to others.

“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Some of us have more patience than we like to spend. Unspent patience will do us just as much good as money in the bank when Jesus calls us. Use it now. Spend it now. We want God to be patient with us. “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. …You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!”

BOB