Fresh look at “love.”

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It’s likely you’re familiar with this passage: “Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  You’ve probably heard it recited at a wedding…maybe your wedding. It is the definitive definition of love in many circles. The first phrase bugs me. Love is patient.

I wish I could tell you the many successes in my life regarding my mastery with patience, but like you, I haven’t arrived. That being said, this might interest you. When the Apostle Paul describes love as being patient, this isn’t just patient with our present circumstances.  It’s more. This is patience in our relationships and with people.  It comes from the word “makrothumos.” To put it in simple terms, the first part “makro” means “a long period of time.” The second part “thumos” means anger. If you put those together it means, it takes you a long time to get angry. You have a long fuse rather than a short fuse.

How are you doing in this area? If you struggle sometimes, I just read that anger in our relationships is not decreasing, it’s increasing at an alarming pace. Because the Bible connects “patience” with anger, it seems the most important thing that you and I could do to grow in patience would be to change your expectations.  Our anger always starts in our thinking – our expectations of how things are going to go or how people “ought to treat us.” If you start with an expectation that you are going to be treated poorly or that a person in your life will never live up to your expectation of them, you’ll move to anger quickly. Chuck Swindoll once said, “one of the few things we have control over is our attitude.” I agree. Change your attitude and I believe you’ll find “love is patient” will become more of a reality in your life. At least, it’s helped me.

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