Why Be Impatient?
WE LIVE in a world where many people get nervous or fidgety when they have to wait. Perhaps you find yourself pacing back and forth, becoming more and more irritated, when you have to wait a few extra minutes for a train or bus. It may be that you expected your husband home for supper a little earlier, or you may be kept waiting by your wife. When that happens, do you greet the other person with sincere pleasure when he arrives? Or are you upset, and is your greeting sharp?
The Bible gives good counsel for our guidance when it says: “Better is one who is patient than one who is haughty in spirit. Do not hurry yourself in your spirit to become offended, for the taking of offense is what rests in the bosom of the stupid ones.”—Eccl. 7:8, 9.
In the midst of the fast pace of a production-minded world patience is at a premium and tempers are short. It is also a world where there is much unhappiness. The old world is moved by selfishness, by the spirit of the “god of this system of things.” As men pursue “the desire of the flesh” they manifest the “works of the flesh,” including “fits of anger.” (1 John 2:16; Gal. 5:19, 20) Those who are thus easily offended by the tardiness of others upset both themselves and those around them. Why punish yourself and others for the shortcomings of someone else?
In conversation it readily becomes apparent who has patience. One who does will patiently wait his turn to speak. The one who lacks it is forever trying to interrupt.
The apostle Peter tells us to “consider the patience of our Lord as salvation.” (2 Pet. 3:15) There is no question about it: the patience of God has afforded us the opportunity to gain salvation. By our patience with others we make it easier for them to take hold of that provision. That patience should be shown toward those whom we teach God’s Word; it should certainly be shown toward those in our own family. It is important in the big things of life, and it should not be overlooked in little things.
Instead of showing irritation and impatience, remember the advice found in Proverbs 16:21: “The one that is wise in heart will be called understanding, and he that is sweet in his lips adds persuasiveness.”