What is long suffering?
Patience under repeated wrongs, forbearance under ill will, endurance in the face of adversity, steadfastness when everything is coming crumbling down. Long suffering. Often times when we think of long suffering we think of people struggling with illness or disease- like my grandmother or my aunts sister fighting cancer.
But long suffering has so many more faces, long suffering is the person who bites their tongue rather than snap back at the person who has yelled at them or put them down. Its the person who can walk into church with her head held high even though the church gossips call her a tramp- even though she is there only to serve Him.
Sure the others may not know that the reason she was branded a tramp, a heathen with no right to darken the churches doorstep is because she refused to share why deacon so and so left the church to those same people who now slander her name. The truth may never be known, but still she will not open her mouth, will not stoop to their level and roll in the mud.
Its the person who is unloved by their family- the one that no matter how many times they hurt them always opens their arms again and forgives them. Its the person persecuted and willing to die to worship Christ. The one who says I will serve Him and none other. You can have everything is in this world just give me Jesus. These are the faces of long suffering.
Long suffering- we are surrounded by it every day, in some cases its a single mom just trying to get through the day. Sometimes is an elderly church member in the hospital with no family that cares. Do we even notice? Do we honestly care? I know we’re busy. Someone else will go. Someone else will care. Its someone else’s responsibility. Its not my job. It will hurt too much to care. I am just as guilty of saying these as the next person.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Mathew 25:35-40
But it is our responsibility. Reach out. Maybe all you can do is give someone a hug, or tell them you are praying for them. Or maybe its bringing them a meal. See beyond their past (Jesus does!) Do something. Reach out, pray for them- and keep praying for them until you see a result.