Love is in the air. Valentine’s Day is next week (just a heads-up, guys!) The Apostle Paul celebrated love in his letter to the believers at Corinth. He began with the clarification that “love is very patient” (1 Corinthians 13:4).
The word “patient” is translated “long-suffering” from the Greek word markrothumeo, which means “slow to boil.” Put a pot of water on the stove and it will boil at the rate of the heat applied. Patience doesn’t ignore misbehavior; it just keeps the flame low. The word describes God’s enduring patience.
“The Lord is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
He told a parable to illustrate. A king called a debtor to settle his debt of 10,000 talents. He didn’t have the money to repay. The customary judgment was imprisonment for him and his family. He pleaded for patience. He didn’t plead for mercy or forgiveness, but the king felt compassion, freed him, and forgave his debt.
The freshly forgiven fellow went immediately and found a friend who owed him a great deal less. He seized him by the throat and demanded the debt be settled. The man cried for patience, but none was found. He was thrown into prison.
When the king heard this, he summoned the man back to his chamber. He called him wicked and declared that he should have shown the same mercy he was shown. He was turned over to the torturers.
You have been forgiven a debt you could not pay by Jesus, who didn’t owe it. Show your appreciation through forgiving others. Love is patient.
The Wisdom Writer declares that “patient people have great understanding, hold their tongue and are even-tempered” (Proverbs 14:9; 11:12).
God’s patience is an expression of His love. “He loves us with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31”13).
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called the children of God” (1 John 3:1).
“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16).
“This is how we know love, He laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:16).
The Apostle Paul declares that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 5:35ff).
God expects us to love Him — “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5).
He also expects us to “love one another” as we “abide in His love” (John 15:9,12,17).
Elie Wiesel was a Pulitzer Prize winner for his writings about the Holocaust. He had been a prisoner in a concentration camp.
After his incarceration, and before receiving a Nobel Peace Prize award, he was a struggling newspaper correspondent. On one occasion he was interviewing Francois Mauriac, the French Nobel laureate.
Mauriac, a devout Catholic, responded to every question with a comment about his favorite subject — Jesus Christ. Wiesel blamed Christian anti-Semitics for his horrible experience and lashed out at Mauriac, “All you speak of is the suffering and death of Christ. I knew Jewish children who suffered a thousand times more that your Christ on the cross. We don’t speak about them.” With that, he stormed out of the room.
Mauriac followed the young reporter and encouraged him to tell him the story.
“Tell me about the camps, the trains, the deaths. Break your vow of silence. Speak out.”
He did. Elie Wiesel wrote his powerful book, “Night,” which opened the eyes of many around the world.
What if Mauriac had “boiled”? What if impatience had ruled? God is patient with us.
“He has reconciled us to Himself, not counting our trespasses against us” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The Rev. Jimmy Towers is pastor of Lifeway Fellowship in Killeen.