The Marriage and Family Blog


How to Be Patient With Others

category: christian living Feb 05, 2024

The human experience can be summed up in the phrase, “hurry up and wait.” Life is moving at lightning speed. However, there are times of waiting that feel like they drag on forever - especially when dealing with others. Many times, we suffer from someone else’s wrongdoing, and it’s hard to wait it out. Galatians refers to this as “longsuffering.”

Building Your Character

I think King David exemplified this characteristic so well. He endured persecution and ill-treatment from Saul, and yet he still honored Saul’s position as king. 1 Samual 24:3-5 tells of one of these times. “So he came to the sheepfold by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.) Then the men of David said to him, ‘This is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’ And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe.”

David had the opportunity to kill Saul – and had every right to do so. But one thing kept him from doing it, which was the honor he had for Saul’s position as king. He kept his focus on God to bring about victory in his life and even felt bad about cutting a corner of Saul’s robe. Wow! God was talking about this when He called David a man after His own heart.

Long endurance grows our character like nothing else will. James 1:4 says, “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” Longsuffering will mold you and fine-tune the skills that you need for what lies ahead of you. I’m sure David’s experiences with Saul helped shape the kind of king he would become.

How Patient Are You?

On a scale from 1-10, how would you say your patience is? Maybe you are very patient with others, but not so much with your own family. Or perhaps your patience is low with those who have differing views and beliefs from you. Again, remember that patience is grown in love.

However, having patience doesn’t mean that you roll over and “play dead.” Ephesians 4:26 says, “be angry but do not sin.” Anger becomes sinful when it turns to bitterness and unforgiveness. We can be angry over wrongdoings. But we must listen and wait for God’s direction and timing on how and when to deal with it. 

Here are a series of questions to ask yourself to determine where your patience is. These questions are taken from Dr. Steve Viars.

  • Are you a patient person?
  • When those around you think of words that describe you - would patience be one of the words they’d use?
  • When your children grow up, will they think back on their time at home and say - I sure appreciated dad’s or mom’s patience.
  • Do those at work say - I sure admire your patience - how do you handle situations the way you do - does that religion thing you’re into have anything to do with it?
  • How are you doing in the matter of holding off sinful anger for an extended period of time?

I hope those help pinpoint where you are in developing your patience. But now let’s look at how to exercise patience with others – especially when you have been wronged.

How to Be Patient with others

So, how do we exercise patience with others when we know they’re wrong?

  • Keep Your Eyes on Jesus. Just like David, keep your focus on God not your situation.
  • Pray for them. Something spectacular occurs in your heart when you pray for your enemies. You will start to see them how God sees them and gain a wise perspective on what to do.
  • Remember that hurting people hurt people. We taught this principle to our kids at a young age when they were wronged by someone. When you realize that those who hurt you are hurting themselves, it allows you to have a different perspective again.
  • Ask God where you need to change and grow. More than likely, God is using your situation to develop you as well.
  • Walk in forgiveness and choose to love. We have to make a quality decision to walk in love with those we disagree with or who we have difficulties with. Remember that forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.

Let me know your thoughts about “longsuffering” in the comments below. Have you grown spiritually from having to endure a trial in your life?


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