1Co 13:4-7 NASB Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
The first two things Paul writes about love is that love is patient, or long suffering, and love is kind. Neither aspect of love sounds that tough to do and if asked by someone if that is how I respond, I would normally think yes. That is until I am tested. About a week and a half ago I was in a well known large store to pick up some dirt. The whole process, I figured, would take about 5 or 10 minutes. Instead it took 45 minutes, having to go though a long slow line three times. Once to pay for the dirt, the second time to get a refund because they were out of what I wanted and then to pay for what they had and a third time since after standing in line the second time, the cashier said she didn't know how to do the needed transaction so I ended up waiting in a third long customer service line, each time to face a clerk that didn't really want to be there. And then to finally be chewed out by a very grumpy clerk for parking in front of the dirt which is in a large area of the parking lot since my knees were hurting and I didn't want to have to keep walking back to the parking area to get the truck and drive back to where that dirt was. I did pretty well at being kind and patient for the first 44 and 1/2 minutes but that last half minute, the fuse finally reached the powder and a large explosion occurred. Although I maintained through most of the ordeal and the final explosion not being as large as in the past, I still failed to have love that was patient and kind.
There are things I have been doing that I believe help me to do much better than In the past even though I realized I still fail at times. I am trying to continue the practice of reading scripture first thing when I get up rather than going to FaceBook or email and seeing what everyone is up to on my tablet. While I don't always follow the plan, my favorite way to start the day is by reading scripture, then brew up a cup of coffee and to sit in the sun room and think about what I have read and how it may be applied to what I'm going through. Also as I go through the day it really helps to recognize and know that the Holy Spirit is right there with me and I often have thoughts come up or situations happen and I begin to talk to Him as I would a good friend about those things and how to deal them. While I was driving away from the store that day, I began talking to God about what had just happened and how I had failed and I believe I heard Him remind me that He has been helping me in this area and I am doing much better than In the past. He also reminded me of all the horrible things going in in the world and I had to agree, if this is the worst thing that happens to me, life has been pretty good. Another important thing to keep in mind and to remind myself of is the example of Jesus, Who is love, of His kindness and patience towards me. He died for me in order that I would have life then thinking of how much patience He had for the time it took for me to finally repent and allow Him to bring change into my life. In His kindness and patience, He never condemns but gently leads and continues to perfect what He began and will continue to perfect until the day when He returns.
by Ken Edgerly