A Prayer to Be Patient with One Another
By Jessica Van Roekel
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Raising kids is not for the faint of heart. It requires courage, commitment, and a strong dose of patience. I recall a wise, older woman encouraging me through advice and insight. I knew her grown daughters and was so impressed by who they were, so I eagerly leaned into what she had to say. Her advice impacted how I parented. She said we, as people, have natural bents that lean toward uncivilized behavior, and we need to learn how to live civilly with others.
One of my daughters was an easygoing child and seemed naturally kind and patient, but she had a limit to what she tolerated from her siblings. Once she reached her threshold of tolerance, she reacted by biting. My duty and responsibility were to tell her to stop biting and to teach her how to handle her big emotions. She needed to know what was not acceptable behavior but also what to aim for through modeling and practice.
This section in 1 Corinthians describes love as an activity, not just feelings, emotions, and motivations. We are like little children to God, and he gives us a blueprint of how to live for him. I like to call it “growing up” in him. Children don’t know how to wait for something unless they’re taught. They don’t know how to let someone go ahead of them unless it’s modeled for them. We need to teach them kindness and gentleness, and we need to keep practicing them, too. Verses like these in 1 Corinthians give us a plan to follow, and God models it for us.
The various aspects of love described here characterize God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To become more like Jesus, we must aim to grow in this kind of love. Throughout the Bible, we see these traits demonstrated, and then as we walk with God, we see him showing them to us. While these verses might seem like an impossible ideal, they become a guiding light in our responses toward other people.
Humankind has repeatedly turned away from him, yet God is patient. We see this from the Garden of Eden to the Flood, the desert, and the present day. Yet, he persisted in his plan to restore his relationship with us, his created beings, through the death and resurrection of Jesus. We find his heartbeat in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever would believe in him, would not perish, but have everlasting life.”
After we turn from our sinful ways and make him Lord, he patiently walks us through the maturing process. Each day is a gift from him to learn to be more like his Son, Jesus. Oh, how he loves us. He pursues us and calls us his own. He affirms us and encourages us. At the same time, he leads us in the right ways of living.
We can cooperate with or fight him every step of the way. I loved watching the personalities of my four children develop. Some were easy to teach the right behavior and attitudes to. Others fought me at every step. God used the teaching and training of my kids to teach me patience. I needed to model patience and kindness for them, but the exhaustion of four children under eight meant I failed many times.
When we fail to live up to the definition of love, which the Apostle Paul explains so beautifully in this passage, we have this amazing opportunity to experience God’s patience with us again. God doesn’t condemn us for our failures, but through our repentance, he encourages us not to give up. We have a heavenly Father who shows unending patience toward us, and we can let this experience help us extend the same patience to others.
I know I blew it. I lost my temper and responded in an unkind, impatient way. I’m so sorry. Will you please forgive me? I can come to you with my weaknesses and know you will make way for me to get back up again and walk in your way. Thank you, Lord! I’m so grateful you are so patient with me. Help me remember this when I feel impatience rising within my heart and empower me to choose a patient response. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/gnagel
Jessica Van Roekel loves the upside-down life of following Jesus as she journeys to wholeness through brokenness. As an author, speaker, and worship leader, she uses her gifts and experiences to share God’s transformative power to rescue, restore, and renew. She longs for you to know that rejection doesn’t have to define or determine your future when placed in God’s healing hands. Find out more reframingrejectionbook.
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