Love Is Always Kind and Suffers Long
Love is always kind and suffers long. So, those two terms are extremely important to understand. One way to see the difference between the two terms is that "suffering long" is like mercy, while "kindness" is more like grace.
Both seem so small and insignificant, but in God's wisdom and perfection, they are extremely important and powerful. And, it takes the power of God for any of us to do either one.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. – Colossians 3:12-13
How many of us would sign up willingly for suffering long? It isn't something that I would likely choose if there were other options. But, I do want love in my life and I desire to love others. So, if I want love in my life, then I accept that love is willing to suffer long. And, if not, I diminish love in my life.
Patience is a great word, but the older term “longsuffering” or “suffering long” provides a clearer picture for us. “Patience” might bring to mind waiting calmly in line, or holding your tongue when someone has been rude to you. These are good things to do, of course:
By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach. – Winston Churchill
But, holding your tongue is a minor issue compared to suffering long.
Pain In Most Situations Is Temporary
The pain in most of our situations is temporary. Suffering long, on the other hand, speaks of months and years, not just minutes and hours. Suffering long is exemplified in the marathon runner who trains with dedication and endurance. Or, how about the picture of a 70-year-old man who still prays for the salvation of his 45-year -old son?
Love is patient and suffers long. Have you suffered long as a husband or wife through years of difficulties, trusting God instead of your feelings? More important, can you see your spouse, friends and relatives that have suffered long with you?
Wronged and Not Retaliate
Love has an enormous capacity to be wronged time after time and not retaliate. When you love, you endure evil, injury, and provocation without being filled with resentment, indignation, or revenge. Slights and neglects from the person you love are not held against them. You wait and hope for the reformation of the other person, rather than lashing out in resentment at their conduct, hoping for the best and not fearful of the worst. You wait, for years if needed, without demands, without agendas, without expectations.
Love is Also Kind
Kindness is what most people would state as a value. But, applying it is what proves that it is a priority value. Whether it is words or a value is determined by time you practice it or apply it. You may say you value fitness, but never workout. That obviously means it is a synthetic value, not real, just words.
Kindness is big in God’s economy and a critical component of love. LOVE IS KIND!
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32
New Testament usage focuses on four facets of kindness: friendliness, compassion, helpfulness, and forbearance. – Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Love Is Gracious Toward Others
Kindness demonstrates graciousness toward others. You show them favor. You see and seek opportunities to be useful and do good for them. It doesn't stop there. You also give liberally, not expecting or requiring anything in return. And, you respect and show consideration for others.
No wonder that kindness is used as one of the elements to describe love.
While suffering long has the absence of anger under provocation, kindness has a special propensity to go a step further and actively seek the other person's good, even their best.
Describes God's Actions Toward Us
The Old Testament often used a word for kindness that was translated as mercy or lovingkindness. Those two words were most often used to describe God’s actions toward the nation of Israel, ever generous and forbearing. In the same way, He invites you to have a heart of kindness that desires and works for the benefit of others.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. – James 3:17
Life is mostly froth and bubble, Two things stand like stone, Kindness in another's trouble, Courage in your own. – Adam Lindsay Gordon
Relationship of Suffering Long and Kind
Love is always suffering long and kind. Suffering long is like mercy. Kindness is like grace. Suffering long withholds punishment. Kindness gives unmerited favor. Suffering long walks the mile without complaint or measuring stick. Kindness volunteers cheerfully to walk the second mile.
God shows longsuffering and mercy in not treating you as your sins deserve. He shows kindness and grace in giving you abundant life and blessings you could never earn.
If you decided to adopt suffering long and kindness as values, your relationships would have the potential to blossom! Be honest and don’t rationalize your behavior with your answers to these questions. Am I putting up with slights and neglects? Am I inclined to show favor, no matter what? If you practice these two qualities, all the other attributes of love will likely become real in your life.
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