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 in us to do either one!

Love Is Always Kind and Suffers Long

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

Suffering Long

Would you volunteer for suffering long? God could give you or me the grace to do that, but it isn't something that I would likely choose. On the other hand, I want love as a key value and action in my life. So, if I want love in my life, then suffering long will be part of my life. And, if not, I not only diminish love in my life, but I probably do not have love in my life.

Why? Because suffering long is a foundational element of what love is.

Or, you can use the word "patience" as a substitute for suffering long. While patience is a great word, the older term “long suffering” 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. Those 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.

Suffering Long Isn't 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.  For example, suffering long is like an athlete who trains with dedication and endurance for years to qualify for the Olympics. Or, picture a 70-year-old man who still prays for the salvation of his 45-year old son?

Both patient and suffers long are good words, because neither is easy to do apart from the power of God in you.

Have you suffered long as a husband or wife through years of difficulties? Do you trust God instead of your feelings? And, can you see your spouse, friends and relatives that have suffered long with you?

Wronged and Does Not Retaliate

Part of suffering long is 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. You hope for the best and do not fear the worst. And, 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 whether it is a real value. You know if it is a real value by how much time you practice it or apply kindness in your daily life. 

Real values are always active in your life. An example would be you say you value fitness and you could be found working out regularly. On the other hand, you say you value fitness, but never workout. That obviously means working out is a synthetic value, not real, just words.

Kindness is big in God’s economy and a critical component of love, because LOVE IS KIND!

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:3

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.

Kindness 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 decide to adopt suffering long and kindness as values, your relationships have the potential to blossom! This is especially important for husbands, because God has asked us to love our wife as Christ loves the church.

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 suffering long and kindness, all the other attributes of love will likely become real in your life.

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