6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,
by longsuffering [long-tempered],
Of the two words for patience or longsuffering, this word refers to bearing ill treatment properly (2 Ti 3:10). “Longsuffering” has to do with tolerating difficult people. There is another Greek word for bearing physical trials and demanding circumstances, but the term here relates to tolerating difficult individuals. “Longsuffering” pertains to those who wrong us or overlook our accomplishments (Ga 5:22; Eph 4:2; Co 1:11; 3:12; 2 Tim 4:2; Jam 5:10).
A person with “longsuffering” has a sense of forbearance, patience, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance and endurance. This person is slow to avenge wrongs done to him. Longsuffering carries the idea of patience toward people under provocation. It will not retaliate when treated unjustly.
A person of longsuffering is someone who refuses to be provoked by others.
Christians in ministry often face difficult people, those critical of ministry. They may even be malicious toward ministry. Difficulties will come from highly judgmental people.
As a minister, it is necessary to demonstrate forbearance with people. There will be those who attempt to injure us, whether our reputation, intent, or actions. Ministry involves taking the injury without retaliation, anger, or resentment.
Longsuffering is the steadfastness of the soul under adversity. This person manifests the quality of forbearance under provocation from others. It does not retaliate even when wrongfully treated.
“My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience” (Jas 5:10).
The person with longsuffering entertains no thoughts of retaliation, even when wrongfully treated. This is a person with a long temper. “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” (Pr 16:32).
Chrysostom said that longsuffering “is the grace of the man who could revenge himself and who does not, of the man who is slow to wrath.” That is like God, for He could have wiped man off the face of the globe for his sin, but He did not. It is incumbent upon us to hold out on anger before taking action. If we defer anger, we can characterize ourselves as longsuffering. Those who are short-tempered do not suffer others very long. Longsuffering carries the qualities of forbearance and patient endurance.
How do you endure exasperating people? Do you lash back and bash them with words? So many of us suffer shortly when it comes to our family: “Well, I told her a hundred times that I don’t like the sports page detached from the front page!”
God expects us to suffer long even if the cause is unjust; that is, your wife may be a nag or your husband may be a slob! “You do not know the jerk that attends my church. He gripes about everything. His personality rasps me. His character is in the negative case. He has never had a positive thought in his life. He always gripes about how the church is run.” The Bible tells us to put up with them.
You say, “But he is a personality assassin.” God gives no exceptions for longsuffering. Suffer them long. Keep your attitude in a state of prolonged freedom from revenge.
The length of our patience with people determines the measure of our spirituality. Take the guff. Keep your mouth shut. Bitterness or retaliation never improves anything. A long temper always gains victory over the short temper. The quality of self-restraint does not punish others. It is not hasty to retaliate. It does not surrender to adverse persons or succumb to duress. “Love suffers long” (1 Co 13:4).
Love does not repay hate for hate or scorn for scorn. Anyone can answer a fool according to his folly. It takes two to tango and it takes two to make a quarrel. That is why God asks us to be looooongsuffering. It is the Holy Spirit who produces the fruit of the capacity to suffer for a long time.
“For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (He 12:3).
Most believers have a low boiling point. That means that most of us boil most of the time. To counteract this, the Holy Spirit produces longsuffering in us.