Love is long-suffering. Think for a minute about our God. Think of an all-knowing, perfect God creating a perfect world–animals, plants, no-suffering, no chaos–perfect peace. Then, think of humans, failing God for the first time in the garden. It was the very first, and oh how devastating that must have felt to our Creator.
There were immediate consequences but not the consequences deserved–not yet.
Think about the first murder. The pain and sadness God must have felt. There were immediate consequences but not the consequences deserved–at least not yet.
Think about a world full of evil and chaos, with only one man faithful to its Creator. There were immediate consequences but not what was deserved–not quite yet.
Think about the God that pursued Israel in a tragic dance between conquering nations and captivity, between human kings, and a temple of worship to the True King.
Think about the God that wrote His story of forbearance, of love, of mercy–a story that included consequences but not the consequences required. This story of how we failed the Creator, and we owed Him an eternity of judgement. This story of how He offers us a pardon.
This story is long-suffering. This story is how marriage is supposed to be, but is this really how are marriages look?
Relationships can be like a broken record. You give them a chance, and the other person fails. Notice God’s example of long-suffering isn’t one chance, and He loses it. It’s not two chances, and He quits on us. That’s not love, and it’s not God’s model of forbearance.
Long-suffering means we give the other person the benefit of the doubt. This means that we repeatedly approach them with gentleness and the right attitude. It means we have patience, and it means we are faithful.
Psalm 103:8 is a description of how our God shows us love, but according to 1 Corinthians 13 this should describe us as followers of Christ as well.