One of the 26 character traits that I think I have grown the most in is patience. That is not to say that Patience is a strength, just that I have grown a lot in that area, but I recognize that I still have lots of growing to do. It used to be that when there were relational conflicts around me, either that I was part of or between family, friends, or church people I would come to a conclusion about what the problem was quickly, who was the problem and fix it now or attempt to fix it. I would either apologize, or confront, or teach, or scold, but I would do something in an attempt to create peace and unity. Now I wait longer, pray more, relax and don’t get as uptight in the midst of relational tensions as I used to. It isn’t that I don’t care about unity and peace between myself and others, or in the lives of those around me, it is just that I give things more time for God to work, people to grow, and for me to have more wisdom and insight into the solution. It wasn’t uncommon for me in the past to create more relational problems than I fixed because my initial conclusions were inaccurate and my solutions were impulsive and reactionary. Some of the little “sayings” that I use in my self-talk in this area are, “don’t give God a deadline to change people”, “wisdom is as much about when to do something as it is about what to do”, “if I can wait without things getting to much worse, I will because I will probably gain a whole lot more information, insight, and wisdom if I do”, “If I wait and think about a situation, my part in the conflict will probably accurately grow in my own mind from 5% to 90%, and that will certainly change what I do to fix it, I don’t want to be guilty of attempting to pick a splinter out of someone else’s eye, with a log in my own eye”, “almost everybody is growing, and often conflict will promote growth in those involved, so don’t be to quick to try and take it away”, and one of my favorite verses in the Bible, Proverbs 16:7 “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

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