Nov 3, 2009

Patience - Can't We Skip This One Fruit of the Spirit

I am in the middle of my 11 week study "Living Beyond Yourself, Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit" by Beth Moore. I have absolutely loved this study more than any other study I've ever done, and yes, I always say this about every new Beth Moore study I take on. It is because every new study I do is miraculously the exact thing I need to work on in my spiritual life at every given time I've started a new one. Isn't that awesome how God works that out?

Well, as much as I've loved this study, I don't like this week. There is a road barrier of sorts that has come up. I am trying to push on through, but it is difficult. This week's study is making me cry uncontrollably, get angry with myself, and bringing up so many things I have pushed down for the last 2 and a half years. Let's just say, "I'm not enjoying it one bit." This week is on patience. Okay, I can handle patience. I had to endure my son's illness when he was born, I had a house on the market for over a year, and I have three children-need I say more. However, during day 3 Beth turned this whole subject of patience in a direction I wasn't ready to go. She started teaching on judgment of others. Okay, yes I know this is a toughie. "I can soak this in and learn something new," I told myself. Then she suddenly took another turn on day 4 and started bringing "forgiveness" into the mix. Wait a second, how can we go from patience to forgiveness. I wasn't anticipating having to work on that particular area. It wasn't in the syllabus. I started reading quotes like, "If we neglect the necessity of forgiveness, we fail to complete the portrait of biblical patience. Then I read, "Patience is the vessel through which God pours His mercy. Mercy is fueled by biblical patience."

Normally I can say without a doubt that I have forgiven every wrong done to me, either intentionally or non-intentional. However, as I'm reading the following verse, I realize, I am still holding on to something I need to let go of- and quick.

Mark 11:25 "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Wait a minute God, I thought I laid that "thing" down at your feet a long time ago, but just this morning when I encountered a thought about that "thing" I immediately let a negative thought come into my mind. Well, I guess I'm not quite done with it after all. Sometimes, forgiveness can be taken care of immediately with a prayer. Mine hasn't obviously. Beth went on to say that the Greek word most often used for forgive is aphiemi, which means "to let go from one's power, possession, to let go free, let escape." I don't even know if it is so much that I don't forgive a person or thing, but instead the fact that I know that others still hold something against me and my family. That is tough. I don't know if they would even read this blog, or if they even have thoughts about us anymore. I want them to understand why we did what we did at the time, but most of all it comes down to I want their forgiveness for us.

There is a patience that can only come from God and it is called "makrothumia" in the Greek form. This is the "patience" towards others that results from being filled with the Holy Spirit. I want this patience in my life, so that I may forgive freely, that I may not judge others, so I can give mercy as needed, and so that I can live life with a clean slate. Maybe you are fortunate and harbor no un-forgiveness in your life, but if you are like me, you need to stop whatever you think needs to be done right now, and get on your knees. Ask for God to let forgiveness rule over personal feelings. It doesn't mean that the hurt didn't happen, it doesn't mean wrong was not done to you, but it does mean that when you stand before God one day, you will be forgiven as you have forgiven others. That is my choice today, and I hope you let it be yours.

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Col. 3:12-13


Sue said...

Whoa... that sounds like quite the study! I needed to read your post today, Susie. I have a situation that I thought I had forgiven, yet there is still some ugliness under the surface which tells me that maybe I haven't forgiven it after all.

Thanks for sharing! Blessings to you! Hugs

Anonymous said...

Hi Susie, I just read your Blog. Your study sound really good with Beth. I like her books.Judging people is really God's work not ours and we really try to play God alot that's why we sins so much. We get our feeling hurt and we want to get back at people. God already knows everything that is going to happen and He is waiting to see what we are going to do. I am so proud of you!!! You have grown so much in your Christian walk. You are such a fine example of a Christian woman!I could shout from the rooftops about my beautiful stepdaughter how proud that I am of her and her Christian Walk! I love You! Carolyn

Faith Imagined said...

Doesn't God always do that? You think you have something down pat, and then God peels off the layers. You realize that there is so much underneath you still haven't dealt with. UGH! At least I know that God only reveals those layers when He knows we're ready to master them.

Thank you for this post, Susie! I love seeing what new insights God is teaching you!