3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.
I have to pause, if anything for myself, on this verse today. It’s easy for us to recognize that patience is a virtue that many recognize yet struggle at obtaining. I am one such person. In many aspects of life, including spirituality, we tend to become impatient with those who are seemingly behind us in the learning process. Speaking a language, relationship with God, learning math, ability to drive, and many other life situations create opportunities for us to exercise or expose the lack of our patience.
As I read this verse today, I think of all the times I have exercised a lack of patience. I think that we need to remember where we came from. For one, nobody becomes an expert in anything immediately, we all need to start from somewhere. Secondly, we didn’t get where we are today (regardless of the arena in life) from people who were impatient with us, but rather because of those who utilized their growth to teach others. They remembered what it was like when they struggled with letting off the gas, pushing the clutch, shifting gears, releasing the clutch, and hitting the gas once more and the car stalled for the 50th time in the middle of the road with honking drivers behind them.
Patience comes with remembering. Patience comes with knowing that we too were in a similar position. I don’t really think this excludes anyone. We all have times when we lose patience, but if we were to first pause and think back in our lives, we can remember a similar time from our past when we could have used a little more patience from those around us.
Paul here is reminding us all that we have no right to judge, get angry, or lose patience with others because we too were once like them. If we are losing patience it is because we are no longer like that and have since “advanced” in whatever arena we are currently losing patience. We would all do well to stop and think before we “lose our patience” with someone or in a particular situation because we know what it feels like to be the object of frustration.
In what area of your life or with whom can you be more patient than you have been?