Generous Patience

“She’s so generous,” he said. 

If he said it to you, what would your first thought be about the person he described? Would it have anything to do with how she uses her money? Probably it would. Money is the context we almost always use the word “generous” for. And that’s not bad—we need far more financial generosity in the world. But let’s not forget that the word (and the reality it stands for) applies to far more than our finances. 

Have you ever met someone who was generous with their time? How precious a gift! Some people can give lots of money away and barely notice because they still have lots more. Time is different. We all have the same number of hours in a day. Those who are generous with their time are generous indeed.

There are also a few blesséd souls among us who are generous in their opinion of others. When there is room for doubt, they give the benefit of withholding judgment and leaving space for the possibility that things may not be as bad as they seem at first glance. Or maybe they are. But when that turns out to be true, these generous people will be the ones seeking reconciliation, restoration, and forgiveness. There is a deep generosity in not giving up on people. 

But not giving up on people is not an end in itself. For humans to become what God made us to be requires one of the greatest generosities of all: the generosity of patience. What is patience but pure generosity? It recognises that some things are not right, and yet refuses to retreat. It looks ahead to a better future, but gives people time to change, space to grow, and support—over and over again, if needed—to get there. It is the triple generosity of valuing who a person is, believing in who they can be, and continuing to work through the long, messy process of growth. In patience, all three of these generosities are braided together into a rope of strong support—a rope that God himself braided for his children. He has told us, and shown us, that he is generous in his patience with the people he has made, “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Exodus 34:6). 

He’s so generous. 

Are we?

4 thoughts on “Generous Patience”

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