Long-suffering: What is it?
The American Dictionary defines Long-suffering as: “to put up with, to be patient; having long and patient endurance during injury, trouble or trials.”
The Vine’s Dictionary defines Long-suffering as: “That quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish. It is the opposite of anger and is associated with mercy, and is used of God.”
The Hebrew word for Long-suffering is: Erech Apayim which means: “long noses”. God is not only gracious towards the righteous, but the wicked. He has endurance for all. According to the Hebrew definition, He has a long tolerance for many people, not “just His own”.
The Greek word for Long-suffering is: Makrotheymia (ma kro thoo ME ah) which means: “far and long of soul and heart.” This describes “the ability to have strength of control of one’s anger under much pressure.” “To be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others, to be mind and slow in avenging, to be slow to anger and slow to punish.”
What does God’s word say about Long-suffering?
“What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; And that he might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy which He had afore prepared unto glory.” Rom 9:22-23
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide; neither will He keep His anger forever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.” Ps. 103:8-10
O, when I read these passages it makes me love the Lord that much more! I look back on my life and see his patience with my outright rebellion. So many times He could have chosen to cast me down and destroy my arrogance. He did not. He allowed me to prosper even in my ungodliness…but, He did eventually allow my own sin to catch up with me. When His protective grace was off of my life, and I saw how little control I really did have, that “discovery” lead me crawling on my knees back to a merciful God to ask for more…mercy.
Those dark days are always a lesson for me. Many times in my walk with Christ today, I look to them as an example of how I need to be long suffering for others when they have committed an offense against me. Many people have hurt me, but none have done what I have done to God. He forgave, and in honor of His wonderful goodness, I must forgive as well. How will the world ever become more “God-like” if even God’s people will not follow Christ’s model of example?
“Dear Heavenly Father,
You have forgiven. And, forgiven. And forgiven me for countless offenses. There are so many things that I have done in my life to hurt you, just thinking about one year of sin makes me sick. Thank you for being so long-suffering. Thank you for showing a living breathing example of your mercy by sending Christ in the flesh for us. I want to be more like your Son, so I must learn to think like your Son, and act like your Son and one of the most impacting thoughts is of Him on the cross, asking you to forgive the men who nailed Him there. What love! Allow me to have the same kind of love for the petty (and dumb) offenses that cause me to act like the devil instead of to endow mercy like God wants me to.
In Jesus’ precious name, all for being like Christ, Amen.”