Mike’s Musings ….

A Great Lesson in Patience

   A few days ago, while listening to the radio, the following article was read as an encouragement. I requested a copy of it that I might share in this publication, and so it is offered. I know neither the author nor the date it was written.

   As I was pulling into work, I was following this car. The sign in the back window read, “Learning stick shift. Sorry for any delay.”
Knowing this information, I was very patient with their slow shifting, and honestly, they were doing pretty well for still learning. Then I asked myself a tough question: Would I have been just as patient if the sign hadn’t been there? I can almost definitely say no.
We don’t know what someone is going through. We don’t wear signs that illustrate our personal struggles. You don’t see signs taped to people’s shirts that say, “Going through a divorce,” “Lost a child,” “Feeling depressed,” or “Diagnosed with cancer.”
If we could read visually what those around us are going through, we would definitely be nicer. But we shouldn’t have to see signs and have reasons to treat strangers with kindness. We should do it anyway, whether we know what is going on or not, whether they deserve it or not. Let’s give everyone an extra dose of patience, kindness, and love.

  The lesson is obvious. Patience is one of the works we must add to our faith (2 Peter 1: 3 – 10) but is also one that is least used by critics. As the article suggests, there are no signs posted on people to inform us of their troubles, their abilities or inabilities, their knowledge, or their ignorance. We can only determine these and other matters of others by observing and/or talking to them. Both are needed to get acquainted, and both are if we are to help one another. The old adage says, “Walk a mile in their shoes.” And once a weakness is noted, be gentle in instruction, rather than purporting a superior mindset over the one you are correcting. After all, not everyone can “drive a stick shift.”

   I muse on the wisdom of such advising articles as the one shared here. It is so simple and plain, yet so often ignored because of arrogance, selfishness, pride, and a variety of other self-inflicted evils. We must think before we act, and a part of that thinking may serve us well – remember we also had to learn before we could teach!