When we lose our patience it’s usually because we are upset with God, others, or our circumstances. The more we understand the ways of God, the more patient we will be with Him and wait on His timing. The more we understand that all circumstances are controlled by God, the less aggravation they will cause us. And the more we understand people and what makes them tick, the greater our tolerance with them will be.
God is extremely understanding and patient with us and He wants to teach us how to do the same. Just look at the life of Jesus. He was never in a hurry or ever lost His patience.
Since Jesus is living on the inside of us through His Holy Spirit we too have this capability.
I’ve covered understanding God’s Ways (and consequently circumstances) in other locations on this website. Be sure to check out that content. (Understanding God’s Ways)
So let us focus now on how to understand people better.
Personally, waiting on God is so much easier than people. Once you understand that God is perfect, good, all wise, and always has our best interest at heart, it isn’t as hard (relatively speaking) as it is in dealing with those who don’t have these godly character qualities. But that doesn’t let us off the hook.
How to be More Patient by Understanding People
1. Know the truths about people in general
We are all:
- Created and loved by God
- Have a unique and special God-given purpose
- Equal in God’s eyes
- Sinners—even after we become children in God’s family we still sin.
- Have the same fundamental needs of love, acceptance, sense of worth or significance, security, companionship, and hope which only God can truly fill.
- Complex human beings made up of body, mind, soul, emotions, will, conscience, and spirit.
2. Learn specifics about the people with whom you deal regularly
Some of you are already people-watchers. But do you study those with whom you interact the most—like your spouse (1 Pet 3:7), kids, co-workers, and friends? We all need to stop and take notice of:
- Their personality and character traits
- What pleases or displeases them
- What makes them anxious
- Their moods (be aware of hormonal and physical factors)
- Their needs
- How they respond to acts of love or unkindness
- Their maturity level
- Their sensitivity
The Lord will give you discernment here if you ask Him.
People often speak or act out of their pain, ignorance, or spiritual immaturity. They are just behaving in a way that makes sense to them. Put yourself in their shoes and try to see things from their perspective.
But we cannot stop here.
4. Accept the differences, faults, or idiosyncrasies of others.
Being accepted by others is a core need. It is the driving force behind wanting to belong and fitting in.
Nobody is perfect, nor do we all think alike or are on the same timetable (I’m talking to me here). We need to accept others where they are and treat them as we would want to be treated (=golden rule). That means we are to love them despite any frustration “caused by them.”
One of the meanings of the word accept is “to endure or tolerate with patience.”* Accepting someone, faults and all, enables us to tolerate those quirks.
Understanding and acceptance creates an environment for people to change.
Impatience does just the opposite. It shuts people down; making them stubborn and hard-hearted.
You don’t have to like something or have complete understanding in order to accept it. We will never fully comprehend God, people, or ourselves, but gleaning as much knowledge as we can will help us lose our pride and selfishness and therefore our IMpatience.
And that’s the topic of my next blog: Understanding Ourselves.
So until next time, my friends, get to know those around you so you can be more patient with them–they’ll love you for it!
For more help in dealing with people get my book:From the Vertical to the Horizontal: Empowered to Relate to People God’s Way
Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (Chicago: G & C Merriam Co., 1976).