Patience has something to do with what we expect things to be like or how we think people should behave or react. Human beings have various kinds of expectations. Felt inconsistencies with our wishes and desires in our eyes may amount to a challenge or even a catastrophe.
As I am giving thought to ‘patience’, I find it may not have exactly the same meaning to all of us. We differ from each other. One does not care much about certain situations; another may be more than upset. How we react may depend on our social upbringing, on our own habits and decisions as well as on our position within the community surrounding us.
Let me give you some examples. A toddler may be used to receive a kiss from his mother when being laid to bed. Without that he may feel uneasy. Perhaps he will show his feelings by making certain sounds. He may just not be calm enough to fall asleep.
Some people are used to having some chocolate after lunch or a cup of coffee. If they do not receive what they habitually take in they may emotionally show a sense of shortcoming.
Generally we love to communicate with friends. However, speaking to a stranger may be something of a challenge to us. Not all people will easily gather what we mean to say.
Or think of patience with regard to situations that may occur when driving a car. Imagine somebody who is just used to the traffic of a rural area. He may feel distressed when facing a host of rushing cars in a big city.
Of course the apostle Paul wrote his epistle to a church at Corinth. So maybe let me give you a church related example concerning patience too.
A Sunday school teacher may have taught his group of children for many years. The children are acquainted with his personal views and with the particular stance of the church. What is going to happen if a child of a stranger joins the group and asks some question that appears to be veritably beside the point? The teacher may feel irritated. He may not have a ready answer. What is he going to say? Is the visiting kid at all going to benefit from his demeanour and words? Would the child happily join again at another occasion?
Patience has something to do with inner feelings aroused within us by certain circumstances or behaviours of others. On the other hand we think of patience or the lack of patience when we consider how we then react with words, facial expressions, gestures and deeds.
Right after mentioning patience Paul is referring to kindness. There may be good reason to consider these virtues as separate entities. Yet somebody is more likely to be considered a patient person if he reacts in a kind and friendly way.