Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (v.6).
I’ve figured out that secondary school boys are part of God’s plan to increase patience in my life. In my job I go from one extreme of teaching sixth form students to the corridors of insanity in teaching year 8 English. I enjoy most of my students, but there’s something unmistakably stretching about working with young men who totter uncertainly between childhood and adolescence. Though their personalities are varied, they share a strange affinity for bodily noises, random thoughts and unrestricted movement.
Because they haven’t had the same instruction, background and experience as the sixth formers, I have a different set of expectations for my 8th-grade pupils. I don’t change my expectations because they lack ability or intelligence. They’re simply a work in progress.
Just as those around us vary in physical age, we also have varied levels of spiritual maturity within the body of Christ. God’s Word remains the uncompromising standard by which we assess the fruit of our lives and the lives of others. But Paul observes that while our actions are to be based on the truth of God, our responses may require adjustment according to the needs of others (Romans 14:14-15,21). Allowing every answer to be measured by grace does not preclude truth, but rather makes it more evident.
God has promised to complete His work in the lives of those who follow Him (Psalm 138:8; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24), but none of us will be a completed masterpiece in this life. As we work out our own faith (Philippians 2:12), our purpose in practicing patience in the body of Christ is not to ignore the sins of others but rather to “accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory” (Romans 15:7).
Patience is necessary to deal with the “troubles and hardships” that others can send our way. Look up Paul’s perspective in 2 Corinthians 6:4-6.
How can understanding someone’s background help us experience compassion for that person?