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Patience with people

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HAVE you been exasperated with your spouse lately? Or your boss, or your children, or anyone else you thought wasn't acting right? We can all be more patient with others. And through prayer we learn, step by step, that the patience which heals--the kind the Bible recommends we let ``have her perfect work''1--doesn't involve just outwardly keeping still while we churn mentally. Genuine patience is expressed in loving our fellow beings as Jesus loved, growing in grace through meekness and compassion, quietly touching hearts.

But how can we do this? you may be asking. Isn't it hypocritical to go along as though everything were just fine when clearly (in our opinion) the other person isn't measuring up, isn't even trying to see our point of view?

Maybe the more important question is, Are we trying to see his? Even if we can honestly say we are, something more is needed. We need to pray humbly to see others more as God knows man; to discern their real being. The Bible teaches that God made man in His image and that everything He made was very good.2 So if the reality of every individual is good, it's to everyone's benefit that we strive to perceive more of that good, regardless of how hidden it may seem. People may be difficult sometimes, but if we realize the actual nature of everyone, we won't sit in judgment of others, claiming that we are good but they aren't. This is just what we're doing, however, when we let impatience and self-righteousness cloud our view.

I recently had an experience that pointed up how crucial patience (genuine patience, not just foot-tapping silence) can be to the harmonious solution of our troubles--and in fact how hopelessly entrenched these troubles can become until meekness and patience are learned.

When our taxes were nearly doubled last year my husband and I decided to remodel our large aboveground cellar into a rental unit to help defray expenses. In general we both agreed that this was a necessary and desirable step.


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