Patience is more than the ability to wait; more than the power of endurance; more than tolerance.
Patience means acceptance- unconditional acceptance of the circumstances one is living; unconditional acceptance of other people as they are; unconditional acceptance of oneself as one is.
Patience means love; simply love others as they are and simply love yourself as you are with your strengths and your flaws.
Patience means loving your life as it is with its ups and downs; with its joys and tears; with its successes and its failures.
As we are pondering and meditating on the horrible suffering of the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday, Jesus has often reminded me of two powerful spiritual insights- love of God and patience with others.
If we truly love God, then we must love our neighbors. If we truly love our neighbors, then we must have patience with them and accept them without judging them. Jesus seems to tell us in no uncertain terms that love of God and love of neighbor through patience, tolerance and social acceptance are two sides of the same coin of the Gospel of Love.
In his teachings, Jesus has commanded his disciples to love one another and love has become the defining characteristic of a Christian. At the same time, Jesus has given one strong prohibition to his disciples- do not judge others. I personally must confess that I have often violated this commandment of not judging others. I have often failed to follow Jesus’ teaching on this aspect of love. Through my own personal failures, I have become much more aware of the prevalence of this addiction of judging others in our modern society. On this topic, I wish to point out that Charles R Swindoll, in his book Simple Faith, has made a significant contribution towards a richer understanding of Jesus’ teachings. I would draw lavishly from Swindoll’s writing to provide us some solid food for thought for this Easter season.
“Some Christians play a lot of indoor games. Among their favorites is one we might call `Let’s Label.’
Here are some ground rules for starting. Find someone who is different. He or she may look different or sound different or think different. It works really well if the person holds to different opinions and/ or reacts in a different way than the `acceptable manner,’ which differs from your religious group. This game is especially effective if someone has a mark on his or her past record that your group considers worth discussing, even if it is over and done with, fully forgiven, and none of your business…
Actually, there is another name for the game. It doesn’t sound nearly as nice or inviting, but it is the term Jesus used in His mountain message: `judging.’
Interested in cultivating people of simple faith, Jesus gave instructions that would help make that happen. He cuts no corners. With the skill of a surgeon, He sliced near sensitive nerves to reach precise areas of the heart for the purpose of doing his corrective work…It was His way of saying, “If you are serious about simple faith, this has to go!” In this case He said, “Stop it!”
What is so bad about judging? And why would Jesus have reserved some of the strongest words in His sermon for this? Four answers come to mind:
*We never know all the facts.
*We are unable to read another’s motive.
*We are prejudiced people, never completely objective.
*We put ourselves in a position we are not qualified to fill…
namely, we play God. “
(Excerpt from `Simple Faith’ by Charles R. Swindoll)
In her book, Everyday Grace, Marianne Williamson, shares her valuable insights on love. She maintains that when our minds are healed, the world will be healed and nothing that does not vibrate with love will endure. She continues to say that “love is literally the power of God alive on earth. It is a transformative, alchemical, miraculous force…For God’s love is not just His love for us; it is, most important, the love we give the world. The highest commandment is that we love one another. And when we make the extension of that love our primary goal, no matter the circumstance, those circumstances are blessed…The activist would best realize that there is no creating a loving world except through our willingness to be the love we wish to see…We cannot change anything unless we ourselves are willing to change…
We cannot give what we do not have. We cannot bring peace to the world if we ourselves are not peaceful. We cannot bring love to the world if we ourselves are not loving. Our true gift to ourselves and others lies not in what we have but in who we are.”
May this Easter season give birth to a greater awareness of the importance of unconditional love, unconditional acceptance and patience in our broken world today so that every human being will enjoy authentic happiness & freedom from all forms of disorders.