“Longsuffering”

It may not take a village to raise a child, but it certainly helps when one’s neighbors are longsuffering.  With 4 active, curious and mischievous boys to deal with, our neighbors were truly patient and tolerant.  We thought little of cutting across their property to save a few steps or riding bikes in their driveways.  The man next door, Bill, was amazingly kind to us even though he was slowly losing his legs to diabetes.  He could have been a surly grouch, but he was just the opposite.  I am so sorry I never thanked them for their support.

Several verses in the Old Testament describe the Lord God as longsuffering (KJV) although other versions may use the term, “slow to anger” (NIV) (NAS) (Ex 34:6) (Nu 14:18) (Ps 86:15).  In the New Testament we are given the reasons for His patient endurance (longsuffering).  God’s kindness is to, “lead you to repentance” (Ro 2:4) (Ro 9:22).

Longsuffering is one of the Christian virtues mentioned by the Apostle Paul as fruit of the Spirit, and something for which we should strive (Gal 5:22) (Eph 4:2) (Col 1:11).  Jesus set forth a pattern of longsuffering for future believers (1 Tim 1:16).  Paul took on that challenge and charged Timothy to adopt it in his preaching (1 Tim 1:16) (2 Tim 4:2).

The Apostle Peter talks about the longsuffering of God so that people might repent during Noah’s preparation of the ark (1 Pe 3:20).  He also tells us that the Lord is still longsuffering with us today in hopes that no one will perish but come to repentance before the day of the Lord comes and the earth is burned up (2 Pe 3:9-12).  He explains that the longsuffering of the Lord is for salvation (2 Pe 3:15).  If then the Lord God is so kind, tolerant, patient and longsuffering towards mankind, (Jo 3:16) shouldn’t our attitude and conduct be the same towards all people? 

                                                                      –Jim Bailey