When I think of the word patience, I think of a glass full of water. Each morning the glass is filled to the top, but throughout the day the water in the glass is used. A sip here and there. Sometimes the glass is bumped and water spills. By dinner time the glass is almost empty, and if I don't take the time to fill it back up again my cup is empty. It's hard to make it through the rest of the evening and bed time with an empty cup. Patience is a key in life.
All relationships need patience. Every situation we encounter could try our patience. How do we keep a cup of patience filled? The first hard fact about patience is that we are simply commanded to "be patient". It's not an option, and it isn't just sprinkled on us like fairy dust. The example we are given in James 5:7-12 is the farmer. He is patient as he waits for harvest, but he is still hard at work while he waits. Patience doesn't mean doing nothing in a situation, but it does mean we have to do the right thing. When our patience is being tried, do what is right. Each situation is different, but the rules are the same. We have to say and do what God wants. Be kind. Be loving. Be generous.
We are also told in this paragraph in James to not grumble against each other. Interesting to me...grumbling and patience. So the idea of grumbling is partially blaming someone else for the stuff we mess up. That doesn't really sound like patience...does it? So the second hard fact about patience is that we have to take responsibility for our mess. When we see our part of the mess, we are more patient with others.
So this week...be patient and be honest by taking responsibility for your mess.