Patience With People
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR: PART IVPATIENCE WITH PEOPLE
A. Introduction: One of the ways God wants to demonstrate Himself through us is by love. John 13:34,35
1. We are to love others with the same love with which God loves us. That love:
a. Gives up its right to get even or get revenge.
b. For gives all for everything.
c. Treats people not as they deserve, but as we want to be treated and as God has treated us.
2. Human beings are self-focused by birth and by training. I Isa 53:6
a. God asks us to turn away from self toward Him and others. II Cor 5:15 b. When you come to the Lord, you repent = turn from living for self to living for Him and for others. Matt 16:24
c. Part of the process of getting our minds renewed is identifying areas where we are self-focused and then making the decision to turn from it.
3. In order to walk in the kind of love toward others that God asks, we have to take the focus off of self. How?
4. First, you must recognize the fact that your automatic response in every situation is to see it from your point of view in terms of what is best for you.
a. That isn't necessarily, automatically wrong -- that's just the way it is.
b. Your way of looking at things is automatic and right to you -- but so is the other guy's way to him!! And, that's what leads to conflict.
c. Your way isn't necessarily wrong, neither is his. They're just different!!
5. The love we are to love with is a love that "thinks" rather than "feels or reacts".
a. I Cor 13:1--If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love [that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God's love for us and in us], I am only a noisy gong or a clanging symbol. (Amp)
b. This love is intentional = an act of the will; a choice.
c. This love is rational = involves thinking, not reacting.
6. When you interact with people you must become aware of, think about:
a. Why are you saying / doing what you are doing -- your good or theirs?
b. How would you want to be treated in that situation?
c. Their perception of the situation is just as real and valid to them as yours is to you -- right or wrong.
d. Then you must decide how to treat them based on how God treats you.
7. We cannot make a list of "dos" and "donts" because there are so many relationships (from casual to close) and so many situations (from minor to major), it can't be done.
a. We can learn general principles from the Bible which the Holy Spirit will help us specifically apply.
b. We could say the Bible gives us one great positive and one great negative as far as how to treat people.
1. Positive = treat people the way you want to be treated. Matt 7:12
2. Negative = don't return evil for evil. Lev 19:18; Prov 20:22; Prov 24:29; Matt 5:39;44; Rom 12:17; I Cor 6:7; I Thess 5:15: I Pet 3:9
8. In order to do these things, you must know how to be patient with people. In this lesson, we want to focus on being patient with people.
B. In I Cor 13:4 the first characteristic of love (agape) listed for us is patience.
1. Endures long and is patient. (Amp) Love is very patient and kind. (Living)
2. Patience (MAKROTHUMEO); lit = means to be long tempered or suffer long.
3. Patience is a characteristic of God. He is long suffering. Ex 34:6; Ps 86:15; Ps 103:8; Ps 145:8; Rom 2:4; II Pet 3:9;15
4. Gal 5:22--Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. We have God's life in us, and the potential is there for us to be patient, to demonstrate patience.
5. Patience is not an emotion.Patience is a decision we make to "put up" with the things about people we don't like and not retaliate.
a. It doesn't mean you don't feel annoyed. It means you don't react out of your feelings, you react out of obedience to your Father.
b. Jesus was annoyed with His own disciples at times. Matt 17:17
1. How long must I put up with you? (Norlie)
2. How long must I continue to be patient with you? (Deaf)
c. What did Jesus do? How did He exercise patience? v8-21
1. He did the works of His Father and set the captive free.
2. He destroyed the works of the devil.
3. He explained to the disciples what they had done wrong.
6. Being patient with people doesn't mean you don't feel annoyed.
a. It doesn't even mean you can't exhort or rebuke people in situations.
b. But, you have to examine the motives behind your actions. You can't react (retaliate) just because they irritate you.
7. Word suffer (ANECHOMAI) = forbear; same word used in Eph 4:2, Col 3:13.
a. Eph 4:2--Living as becomes you...with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another. (Amp)
b. Eph 4:2--Be humble, gentle, and patient, and put up with one another in love. (Norlie)
c. Col 3:13--You must bear with one another's faults, be generous to each other, where somebody has given you ground for complaint; the Lord's generosity to you must be the model of yours. (Knox)
8. Forbear (ANECHOMAI) literally means to hold self back.
a. You hold yourself back from doing what you feel like doing.
b. You hold yourself back from putting them down, paying them back, etc.
9. Remember James and John. They were ready to call fire down because a village did not receive them. Luke 9:56
a. Jesus said: you don't understand what you are or why you are here.
b. v55--We aren't here to destroy people, but to save them.
c. You do not understand, He said, what spirit it is you share. (Knox)
10. You and I are ambassadors for Christ, representatives of Jesus. II Cor 5:20
a. We are here for an eternal purpose -- to save people, not to destroy them. b. You must have that attitude toward people as you interact with them.
11. The bottom line is -- don't return evil for evil.
a. Whether the evil is big or little, real or imagined, don't repay in kind.
b. For most of us, the evil we receive includes things that hurt or annoy us.
1. Someone forgets us, says something hurtful (knowingly or unknowingly), doesn't do to / for us what we think they should.
2. Someone talks too much, says the wrong thing, has a habit that bothers us.
c. Most of the time our conflicts with other people are not over earth shattering, life altering issues, but over the more mundane, everyday issues.
d. Or, we set up unrealistic expectations which they did not know about and / or could not meet.
12. We are not to pay them back for what they've done to us -- big or little.
a. When someone has wronged us in any way, the responsibility is on us to respond rightly, to respond in love, to not give them what they deserve, but to forgive them.
b. Jesus said we are to forgive -- give up our right to get back or get even -- until 70 x 7. Matt 18:21,22
c. Love covers sin. I Pet 4:8
1. For love covers a multitude of sins -- forgives and disregards the offenses of others. (Amp)
2. Love has a way of not looking at others' sins. (Everyday)
3. Yes, but aren't we supposed to expose sin in the body? The context of this verse is sinning against each other, harming, annoying each other.
13. Patience or longsuffering is one way we express the love of God. We hold self back when we are wronged.
C. How do you suffer long with people? How do you keep from retaliating, from returning evil for evil -- big or little?
1. Understand that your initial reactions in the situation are emotions -- they are real, but they are emotional responses.
a. Our emotions do not have to control us, we can control them (keep them from driving us to act sinfully). Eph 4:26
b. I am a new creature who feels angry / annoyed / hurt as opposed to I'm angry, hurt, annoyed.
2. How we feel is the result of what we think about a person or a situation. Matt 6:25;31
a. We change how we feel by changing what we are thinking.
b. We change what we are thinking by changing what we're telling ourselves.
3. When someone hurts you, harms you, annoys you, you begin to talk to yourself. It's automatic. What do you tell yourself?
a. They don't know any better; they don't know they're bugging, hurting me.
b. They don't know Jesus so they're in worse shape than me.
c. He has no right to do that to me. How could he do that to me?
d. What a stupid jerk. How ignorant!!
4. What you tell yourself can fuel the situation and your emotions or bring peace.
5. Does that mean I can never confront someone over their behavior toward me?
a. Not at all. But confront and retaliate are two different things.
b. You must be sure about your motives, actions when you confront them.
1. What is your will toward them? to help? to hurt? to get even? to come out on top? to let them know you hurt so they'll hurt, too?
2. Is the confrontation an excuse to tell them off or hurt them back?
c. When you speak to someone sternly, why are you saying what you are saying the way you are saying it?
1. To have the satisfaction of saying it? To have the last word?
2. To make yourself look good? To prove yourself right?
d. Does what you are saying bring peace to the situation? Rom 12:18; 14:19 e. Is this really a big deal, worth strife or hard feelings?
6. We are to do to others as we would have them do to us. Matt 7:12
a. In regard to your weaknesses, your mistakes, how do you want to be treated? with mercy, understanding, kindness, and forgiveness?
b. What kind of treatment helps, hurts, encourages, discourages you?
c. You want people to suffer long (put up) with you. There are times when you have to suffer long (put up) with people.
D. How do you hold self back when people harm or hurt you?
1. A major key is to speak to yourself in the situation.
a. Until you can calm down enough to think what to tell yourself, you can praise the Lord. We are to give thanks for all men. I Tim 2:1; Rom 8:28
b. When we do that, we are blessing that person who hurt us. Matt 5:44
2. Look at some examples of how people spoke to themselves in some situations.
a. Luke 23:34--On the Cross, Jesus asked for forgiveness for the very people whose sins He was bearing. What did Jesus tell Himself?
b. Luke 10:25-38--The good Samaritan could have told himself the injured man was a stupid idiot for traveling the road alone. What did he tell himself?
c. Luke 10:38-42-- Martha was sure she had been wrongly treated. What did she tell herself?
d. Luke 15:25-32--The prodigal's father could have become very angry and or hurt by the false accusations of His son. What did the father tell himself?
e. II Samuel 16:5-14--David was wrongly cursed by Shimei, but did not retaliate, trusting God to work it for good. What did David tell himself?
E. Conclusion: One way we demonstrate love to others is through patience = longsuffering = forbearance = holding self back.
1. When you hold self back, you put the other person first and treat them the way you would like to be treated.
2. When you hold self back, you restrain yourself and do not return evil for evil despite what the other person has done.
3. How do you get control of yourself?
a. Recognize it is your duty before God, and you can do it. Matt 22:37-40
b. Praise the Lord for the other person.
c. Cast down thoughts that feed anger, hurt, strife, rejection, etc.
d. I Cor 13:7--Love is every ready to believe the best of every person. (Amp) e. Remember the eternal perspective -- God will cause it all to serve His purposes if we respond rightly to Him.