Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Why Patience Is A Virtue
A couple of thoughts on the implications of this - first we probably expect too much of ourselves and others. This is hard to say and I'm probably not saying it right, because all disobedience is sin, all disobedience is to be repented of, and obedience is always to be pursued. Yet if the great heroes of the faith are any indication, none of us gets this - none of us are able to consistently act on the highest ideals of the faith and keep the highest standards of the faith.It's funny, but I tend to have exactly the opposite experience. We never condemn - we expect immaturity from those in positions where maturity should be demanded. In fact, we seem to rely so much on grace that we fail to even encourage obedience.
So we heap too much condemnation on ourselves, although many are good at finding loopholes and rationalizations to excuse their own disobedience, and we heap too much condemnation on our fellow immature believers. We tend to expect people who are young in the faith to act with a kind of faith that can only come through years of maturity.
And that, dear friends, is why patience is a virtue. The ability to know when to have patience, when to admonish, and when to excommunicate can only be God-given. As David points out:
Even when we reach the kind of maturity that Abraham reached in Genesis 22 and pass our greatest test, we won't be without sin and will still need God's forgiveness and grace.The problems that David sees (too much condemnation) and the problem I see (too much forgiveness) stem from the same root cause as the problems our problems want to address - sin - and a lack of Christian maturity.
We need God, His grace, and His guidance in every single aspect of our lives. It is said of science that the more we know the more questions we have. I think that is also true of being a Christians. The more I "mature," the more immature I understand myself to be.
As a person if some intelligence, I have grown amazed at how relatively intellectually unchallenging Christianity is. Don't get me wrong, there are more books to read and arcane points to argue than in pretty much any other human endeavor, but in the end, how much of all that really matters.
But it is so hard to be a Christan. It is a lifetime and more to learn how to act like what I know. And even bothering to try after a while is a gift of God.