The Bible states that God is longsuffering. (Ex 34:6) In fact it says that He is rich in longsuffering. (Rom 2:4) God demonstrated His longsuffering in the days of Noah when He waited patiently while the ark was being prepared. (I Peter 3:20) According to Vine’s Expository dictionary, longsuffering is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation, which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish. He gave them 120 years to repent while restraining His judgment. In a more personal way He has been longsuffering with me and for that I am truly grateful.
However, God also expects us to be longsuffering, especially in our relationships within our Christian family. “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another…”(Col 3:13) Longsuffering – it’s not the quality that permeates the church today. I mean, how many of us desire to be long….suffering? It’s just not a pleasant thought especially in the modern culture. Why would one want to suffer and to do it for a lengthy period of time just to maintain a relationship? The truth is that we in of ourselves cannot be longsuffering. But we can be “strengthened with all might according to His glorious power for all patience and longsuffering with joy.” (Col 3:11)
Longsuffering is associated with mercy and is the opposite of anger. How much better would our relationships be, especially with those of the faith, if we exhibited an attitude of longsuffering and not one of anger?