Charity and Its Fruits - charity suffers long (part two)
There is no finer example of "a meek and quiet spirit, and of a most long-suffering behaviour."
He was treated with contempt, threatened, slandered with accusations of demon-possession, blasphemy, drunkenness, and gluttony, among other things - and all this at the hands of those who He came to show God's kindness to, those he worked miracles for and among, those who should have recognized Him and welcomed him, those who claimed to serve the very One who sent Him. He was betrayed by one in His inner circle, and at a moment of greatest need was denied by one of His dearest friends. In the end all this hatred led to His torture and cruel execution. And yet, "Not one word of bitterness escaped him. There was no interruption of the calmness of his mind under his heavy distress and sufferings, nor was there the least desire for revenge. But, on the contrary, he prayed for his murderers, that they might be forgiven, even when they were about nailing him to the cross; and not only prayed from them, but pleaded in their behalf with his Father....The sufferings of his life, and the agonies of his death, did not interrupt his long-suffering toward those that injured him."
"Second, If we are not disposed meekly to bear injuries, we are not fitted to live in the world, for in it we must expect to meet with many injuries from men."
As Edwards puts it: "...those that have not a spirit, with meekness, and calmness, and long-suffering, and composedness of soul, to bear injuries in such a worlds, are miserable indeed, and are like to be wretched at every step of their way through life." Or, as my sister-in-law, Andi so nicely summed it up: "We live in a sinful world among sinful people, therefore we must expect to be sinned against."
"Third, In this way we shall be most above injuries."
"Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
"Fourth, The spirit of Christian long-suffering, and of meekness in bearing injuries, is a mark of true greatness of soul. It shews a true and noble nature..."
and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city." Proverbs 16:32
Did you ever realize that the lack of long-suffering is considered a trait of fools?"He that possesses his soul after such a manner that, when others harm and injure him, he can, notwithstanding, remain in calmness and hearty good-will toward them, pitying and forgiving them from the heart, manifest therein a godlike and long-suffering spirit shews a true greatness of soul....On the contrary, those that are apt highly to resent injuries, and to be greatly angered and vexed by them, are spoken of in the Scriptures as of a little and foolish spirit."
but a fool is reckless and careless.
A man of quick temper acts foolishly,
and a man of evil devices is hated. "
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
for anger lodges in the bosom of fools."
Fifth, The spirit of Christian long-suffering and meekness is commended to us by the example of the saints.
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless" Ps. 18:25
"Has your enemy been more base, more unreasonable, more ungrateful, than you have to the High and Holy One?"
"...would you have liked God better, if he had not borne with you, but had long since cut you off in his wrath?"
"Would you be willing, for all the future, that God should no longer bear with the injuries you may offer him, and the offenses you commit against him? Are you willing to go and ask God to deal with yourself for the future, as...you think of dealing with your fellow-men?"
In this sense, every offense is a gift, a unique opportunity to reflect the long-suffering character of our God, both to Him and the world at large. If you're anything like me, you prayer regularly that He would be glorified in your life. Each offense is an opportunity to see that prayer answered."But what opportunity could there be for long-suffering, if injury were not persisted in long? If injuries are continued, it may be for the very purpose, in providence, of trying whether you will exercise long-suffering and meekness, and...forbearance... "
"But you do not know this, for you have not insight into the future, nor into the hearts of men. And, beside, God will undertake for you, if you obey his commands; and he is more able to put a stop to the wrath of man than you are (Rom. 12:19)...if you do but obey him, he will take part with you against all that rise up against you. And in the observation and experience of men, it is generally found that a meek and long-suffering spirit puts an end to injuries, while a revengeful spirit does but provoke them."
but a harsh word stirs up anger."