Every day brings us an array of things that try our patience. You buy something that needs to be assembled and the instructions don't make sense. You're out on a golf course and you hit a straight drive; but when you get to where it ought to be lying, it's not there. You toss 16 socks into a clothes dryer and you get only 15 back.
As God's chosen ones, says Paul, clothe yourselves with patience. When we are clothed with patience we can absorb nuisances. We can absorb them without fussing over them. We can absorb them the way a good cotton shirt absorbs a few drops of water from a sprinkler.
But how about persons who annoy us? Well, we have to absorb some of them, too. Some are strangers. Pokey drivers in the left lane. People who let their dogs bark all night. Or the person ahead of us in the 15-item express line at the supermarket. This person puts 19 items on the belt, chats with the checkout clerk, fishes for a checkbook only after everything has been rung up, and then wants to review the bill.
Strangers try our patience in lots of little ways, but they're no match for members of our own family. The prime cases of annoyance are domestic. "When two humans have lived together for a while," says C. S. Lewis, "it usually happens that each has facial expressions and tones of voice that are almost unendurable to the other."
I think we understand. It's not that your family member does anything wrong, exactly. It's just that once in a while she lifts her eyebrows in a certain way that drives you nuts. It's just that he whines even when he's not complaining.
As God's chosen ones, says Paul, bear with one another. Clothe yourselves with patience. We need this piece of clothing, don't we? We need it to absorb the little drizzles of acid ...1
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