Have a little Makrothumia!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Many of the women on the FIAR boards and the HSS boards pick a word for the year to focus on in their lives. I decided to take the plunge this year and picked patience. Ok, I know I am nuts...you know what they say...never, ever pray for patience because that is when God will give you plenty of opportunities to use it! But seriously, this is an area of my life that is lacking. I sat down today and did a mini-study on patience and what it means....little did I know how lacking patience is in my life!

Here is the dictionary definition: The bearing of pain without complaining, loss of temper, or irritation. Suppressing annoyance when confronted with delay. I don't do either of these really well!

In the Bible the word patience is translated as "makrothumia". It is the same word used in Galatians 5:22 as one of the fruits of the Spirit. Makrothumia comes from two Greek words: "makro" which means "long" and "thumia" which means "anger"...so "makrothumia" means "long anger" or in other words, taking a long time to get angry. Makrothumia specifically deals with patience with people, an area where I need to work on.

Judgment is the opposite of patience...think about it... God demonstrates His patience by waiting on us and not passing immediate judgment. But for us humans it is so easy to judge....how do we fight our natural tendency to judge?....with mercy (James 2:13). What is mercy? Basically it is forgiveness. And what is forgiveness? The Greek word for forgiveness in the Bible literally means "to set loose". We let the other person go that offended us by not paying them back for what they have done. Interestingly, unforgiveness would be tying ourselves to the very person we can't stand...but by forgiving them...we release them and ourselves!

So my simple choice of "patience" for the year isn't that simple at all...it involves a non-judgmental attitude, mercy and forgiveness. I know that the only way I can show patience is God living through me...after all patience is a fruit of the Spirit...it is the Spirit that provides the patience.

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