Fruit of the Spirit: Patience in love

By Mike Kasdorf

Before I even began to type words for this blog, I was certain of what I wanted to say. I’m currently in the middle of some stretching business deals and have been learning a lot about patience in a totally new context. Easy-peasy subject matter. Done deal.

Then I started my research. I began innocently searching on Google for “Greek root for patience.” Two hours and three academic papers later, my certainty had disappeared.

I found that there are two different Greek words for ‘patience’ primarily used in scripture: Hupomone  and makrothumia. If you’ve been around Meadowbrook in the last few months, you might have heard Bryan reference hupomone, meaning to persevere…to ‘remain under’ in the context of trying circumstances. In light of what I had originally planned to write, hupomone was perfect. All of its uses are with respect to trying circumstances, suffering, etc.

But then I read about makrothumia.

The best English synonym for this term is “long-suffering.” Whereas hupomone refers to perseverance in circumstances, makrothumia refers to patience with people, especially as patience relates to love. In the New Testament, makrothumia is the term used for patience in context of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). It describes how to bear with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2) and encapsulates God’s patience toward us (Rom. 2:4, 9:22; 1 Peter 3:20).

If you’ve stuck with me through this brief Greek lesson (thank you), here’s my point…and my conviction:

Over the last few months I’ve found myself growing and learning in new and exciting ways through hupomone in stressful situations, but I’ve run short on makrothumia. I’ve been growing in faith and hope, but not in love. My patience has been imbalanced.

Perhaps you’ve been there—being hupomone and losing sight of those around you. Or perhaps you’ve been imbalanced toward makrothumia: a relational situation has become unhealthy, hindering your ability to see God and what He might be doing in your life.

Wherever you find yourself, think about how your patience is being tested. Has it become imbalanced? Are you focusing on one aspect—hupomone/makrothumia—to the detriment of the other?

Praise be to God for his mercy and grace. May we all continue to grow in faith, hope, and love.

Especially in love.