Are impatience and selfishness really connected?


From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Q: Is the lack of patience a sign of selfishness? That’s what my wife claims. I have to admit that she is usually right and I guess she is trying to send me a message. Are impatience and selfishness really connected? – I.H.

A: Practicing patience is hard for almost everyone. But we must also guard against selfishness. One way to help conquer impatience is to turn our thoughts to others — especially in marriage, particularly when things are out of our control. Patience is not simply “teeth-clenched” endurance. It is an attitude of expectation.

Consider the farmer who patiently watches his barren ground because he knows there will be results. He has patience in his labors because there will be products of his labor. As we strive to live for the Lord, we must exhibit patience knowing that our obedience to Him will result in good fruits that He will accept in eternity. The Bible says, “Be patient…. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth…. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:7-8).

Enduring ill-treatment without anger or retaliation is a fruit of the Spirit, referred to in Scripture as self-control (Galatians 5:23). Our lives are to be characterized by patience, for it is important in developing stable character and integrity. Patience speaks of a person’s steadfastness when irritated or experiencing conflict. This is why God allows difficulties, inconveniences, trials, and even suffering to come our way for a specific purpose: They help develop the right attitude for the growth of patience in our lives.


When we ask God to teach us patience, we must be prepared to exhibit this great attribute as Jesus Himself exhibited. It is a marvelous testimony to others.


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

©2022 Billy Graham Literary Trust. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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