Fruit of the Spirit: Patience

Fruit of The Spirit: Patience

Anyone familiar with raising a toddler knows there are moments when the child gets so frustrated they can’t communicate. When this happens at our house, we remind our daughter to be patient and to use her words to express how she is feeling.

The decision by the SCOTUS to legalize same-sex marriage showcases a landmark change worth a lot of discussion. I’m sure you’re aware of the rapid response-rate taking place on social media between opponents and proponents of the ruling. There are many examples of impatience. In large part, communication isn’t happening.

As a Christian, I wanted to jump in the fray when this happened and offer up a response in attempt to make sense of what happened.

But something wasn’t right. My wife sensed this too and I’m thankful for her pointing it out to me. I was being impatient.

So, we prayed for patience. There’s enough impatience at work in our culture today.

An example of this is when a conversation is easily shut down today when a person calls their perceived opponent a “hater”, “bigoted”, “intolerant”, etc. It’s a modern and convenient way to cut the microphone cord from somebody that may have a point worth considering.

To me, that reaction to shut down an opposing view resembles a frustrated toddler unwilling to communicate. Instead of acting out in a rash response, a little patience can go a long way and allow for a bit more reflection that can actually be more helpful.

I hope that is the case here.

A little background, homosexuality doesn’t scare me.

My single-mom didn’t have a lot of baby-sitting options for me while I was growing up and I remember multiple times where I was left in the care of a homosexual who was very nice and didn’t cause me any harm.

I have had respectful friendships with co-workers and classmates who are homosexual.

I have listened to the struggles and victories of a homosexual at church.

It’s not outside of my thinking as to why two consenting adults would find each other interesting enough to want to be together for a lifetime.

However, while I’m not fearful of befriending homosexuals, there are better-equipped people to address those who have engaged in this lifestyle to speak about the life-giving transformation that can occur through a relationship with Jesus Christ despite their sexual orientation.

I think I am more equipped to speak to believers in Christ about what our attitude toward homosexuals should be going forward.

Whether you believe the ruling changes our country’s fabric for better or worse, I am certain of this:

Nothing has changed for the Christian in regard to God’s calling.

Christians have always been called to have the fruit of the spirit on display regardless of any circumstance and patience is a fruit of the spirit that we will have to serve up in great supply. Maybe as Christians, we want to rethink what has been a hapless approach toward homosexuals. Maybe we will experience more patience as we wait for God to demonstrate His power over a world that increasingly seems to reject His message of love in favor of a false version.

We Can’t Hide From Homosexuals

One thing is for certain, a church that refuses to equip itself to deal with the topic of homosexuality and the people involved in it are in denial. Platitudes like “God created Adam and Eve, He didn’t create Adam and Steve” and “Love the sinner, hate the sin” help nobody.

Stating a problem and not seeking to be a true, active part of providing a solution (showing the love of Jesus) to those who are hurting (whether they know they are hurting or not) renders your church and ministry rather lukewarm.

I confess to nodding my head in approval to the statements above in the past and going on my way without any intent to share the good news of Jesus Christ with a homosexual because I found the issue too difficult to address or beyond what I felt comfortable with.

Christians aren’t supposed to hide from reality. Patience is required to get to know our neighbor and to continue serving others regardless of the circumstances.

We Have to Deal With Our Own Sin

As Christians, we have to be honest about our own failings. It’s certainly a good conversation starter. Are we going to pretend the divorce rate in Christianity isn’t there? Are we going to pretend greed, lust, adultery, etc. doesn’t have the capacity to tear up our homes? Are we going to sing “Come as you are” at church on Sunday mornings while saying under our breath “Please don’t come here at all” the rest of the week?

Let’s get honest about our own sin and bring that into the conversation with any unbeliever. It’s the only way we are going to find a true common ground and remove the tendency to put a degree on sin.

This isn’t embracing sin. This is demonstrating humility toward homosexuals by admitting that we didn’t, don’t and won’t ever have it together enough to walk this life without Jesus Christ. We embrace Jesus Christ knowing full well He has embraced us with our warts and all. If we don’t reach out to homosexuals, we are being hypocritical.

Christians aren’t supposed to be hypocrites. We are to patiently give of ourselves to others regardless if others give of themselves to us.

We Have to Take the Gospel Seriously

The best thing that came from the SCOTUS ruling is the refocus on our need to share the good news of Jesus Christ. If we’ve grown comfortable not risking anything for the sake of making Jesus known, then we haven’t taken the gospel seriously. God does not call us to a life of comfort and doesn’t want us to keep the good news to ourselves within a bubble.

Our discomfort with the decision should spur our angst to make the name of God known by introducing people to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

We should talk about ways to do this more than about our favorite football team, television show, or workout program.

We will serve God, others and ourselves well if we were to make sharing the gospel the highest priority of our day. We should do this until our dying day or until Jesus returns, whichever comes first.

Again, patience is the key here as many won’t respond, but what if one person does?

Heaven rejoices at the salvation of one more soul. Jesus says in Luke 15:10, “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

I pray there are homosexuals reading this now that will come to a true, loving relationship with Jesus Christ, repenting of their sins and gaining freedom to live in true peace. I pray those same people will become leaders within churches that will lead others out of the same lifestyle.

And if you think I’m targeting homosexuals in this post, feel free to replace the word “homosexual” with “person” and “homosexuals” with “people” and you’ll find out this message applies to us all.

If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ today, know the apostle Paul persecuted and killed Christians before he was used by God to strengthen the church.

I know He can use you. But first, I want to pray He finds us Christians available and patiently ready to tell you about Him.

That will be fruitful, indeed.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” – Ecclesiastes 7:8

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.” – Psalm 130:5

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” – James 1:19

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” – Romans 12:12

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6

“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.” – Ephesians 4:2

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4

“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.” – Proverbs 15:18

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.” – James 5:7


Fruit of the Spirit Series:

Fruit of the Spirit: Love

Fruit of the Spirit: Joy

Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

Fruit of the Spirit: Patience

Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness

Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness

Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness

Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness

Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control

I am a man who loves his wife, Jessica, his daughter, Clara, his family, his friends and his church. Jesus Christ makes this all possible. He has made the difference in my life and I hope you encounter the difference He can make in yours.

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