“Love is patient, love is kind” 1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV
Thus begins one of the most quoted paragraphs in the New Testament.
However, I tend to gravitate toward the NKJV and that version replaces patient with “love suffers long and is kind.”
I can see why the NIV version is far more popular than either King James Version.
Who wants to readily accept that to love will entail some suffering?
In addition, the emphasis on the “and” further dictates that we can “suffer” yet still be kind, amiable and not relegated to taking out our personal frustrations on the rest of the world.
Everyone is going to “suffer” something.
I’ve noticed that the attitude we have as we deal with “stuff” plays a major part on how well we can suffer through it.
I’ve watched people fall apart (a few times while looking in the mirror) when the load got heavy and no solutions loomed on the horizon. I’ve also witnessed people with incredibly heavy burdens carry them with such quiet strength and dignity you’d have no idea of the issues they faced day after day.
A few people I know who care or cared for a child, sibling or spouse are some the most pleasant people I know. They refuse to allow their circumstances to crush them, yet they were hardly in denial.
They choose to trust God and keep going. They allow God’s love to flow through them.
I watched these ladies love others, give of themselves and perform random acts of kindness all while going through very taxing trials. They extended themselves for others far beyond what most people would expect as “reasonable” given their circumstances.
Through their examples, God teaches me how to keep my joy.
These ladies leaned on the Lord. And when I say leaned, I mean leaned!
Learning how to be joyful and not remain self-absorbed taught me to not only stretch myself, but how to stretch my two sons as well.
Sometimes a gentle nudge garners a better result than mandating a regimented schedule or forcing an issue until you break a person’s spirit.
If you find yourself acting as the dictator in your family, or any place else for that matter, take the words of Sam Cooke to heart.
“Try a little tenderness.”
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
Proverbs 16:24 NKJV