We all need a little patience

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, August 30, 2023

By Les Ferguson, Jr.

Patience. Back a couple of years ago when I was a young man, (I can be deluded if I want to) I knew that patience was a virtue in short supply.

Especially in me. I really struggled to have patience for so many years.

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And now, here I am a little bit older and wiser, and patience still eludes me.

Most likely if I were to meet you in a public setting, I would be patient. If you were serving me in a restaurant, I would be patient and hopefully gracious, too.

Patience in situations like that is easy. I am a minister. It behooves me to exhibit a high level of patience and kindness, especially when others are watching.

But to be completely forthcoming, I’m prone to use bad words in private.

I know that may be shocking, but the bad words I use are really bad. Horrific even. And a detriment to my calling.

Of course, there is the possibility that your standard for bad words is quite different than mine. For example, the third of my boys rode with me a lot when he was very young. Can you guess what bad word was his first word?


Yes, I’m prone to think, or even mutter under my breath words like idiot, stupid, and ignorant – especially if I’ve judged you to be somehow lacking in my impatience.

When my second son Cole was alive, he was the bad word police – if you used the word stupid within his hearing, he sounded like a human siren: bad word, bad word, bad word. Repeatedly ad nauseam with varying pitches until the offender (most often me) apologized loudly and effusively.

If you are prone to impatience expressed in bad words, you need a Cole in your life too.

I long for the day when I can be reunited with my son, but in the meantime, things are still left to be learned.

In my case, patience.

Without calling you out, I have a sneaky suspicion that I’m not alone.

Remember what Mom always said? “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!”

That’s a good rule to live by. But as it turns out, my struggle with patience goes deeper than just the words I might say in private.

True patience changes how we think, how we see, and how we react to people and circumstances whether private or not.

As I ruminate on this, I’m reminded of what the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…”

May the God of all good things help us to live out the Fruit of the Spirit—may patience be found in abundance and change the fabric of our lives!

Les Ferguson, Jr., is minister at Oxford Church of Christ. Write to him at lfergusonjr@gmail.com