Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Power of Patience and Weakness of Law

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on February 9, 2018

ppt-jpeg4The key to good relationships, especially marriage, is love-thinking rather than law-thinking. Law-thinking saturates Western culture; both secular and religious. Love-thinking has several key elements, but this post primarily addresses patience.

Patience and perseverance are closely related, but not exactly the same. Perseverance is a process that finds victory through the middle. In other words, perseverance does not run away from a problem, but finds a solution that rectifies the problem. Nor does perseverance find a shortcut for purposes of a temporary solution. Perseverance is what we do in order to endure a trial of some sort. This is how we are strengthened by trials; because trials increase our wisdom and make us more efficient in living. This is because trials force us to be solution oriented which makes us better at living life overall.

Patience is a reserved, or even loving response to something that is personally annoying. It is an immense power that every believer possesses, but the irreligious are not lacking in this capability either. Patience is always a choice.

Christians have a long way to go in teaching themselves love-thinking because we have been conditioned from generation to generation to see reality from a law prism. Remember, law is good, but the application of law determines whether it is law or love. That is, the law of sin, condemnation, and death, or the love application. Hence, every challenge or problem of life should be used to evaluate law-thinking versus love-thinking. Something to keep in mind: love-thinking always possesses hope. Anything among the living that logically calls for a hopeless conclusion isn’t true.

As I have mentioned before, I am a task oriented person who has a laser focus on the task at hand. When I wake up in the morning, my mental faculties are focused on the big agenda for that day whatever it might be. With Susan, not so much. Susan is a big-picture thinker unlimited by time and world population. While I am focused on the big task of the day, Susan may want to discuss the details of a vacation we are going on two years from now as one of several other discussions on her mind.

Of course I am exaggerating to clarify the point, but this drives me absolutely bonkers. However, this is also indicative of how two companions compliment each other with different gifts and different personality traits. This could be the first point in where we fail to have patience. The focus is the interference with an agenda rather than acknowledging that the other person should be free to be who they are, and the virtues thereof. What is good about who they are isn’t the focus, the distraction from the passion is the focus. The other person is then condemned for being annoying. And, the annoyed one is in-turn condemned for being unloving and indifferent. Let the downward cycle of condemnation begin. All too often, the suggested cure is more condemnation, or if you will, more law.

Secondly, being annoyed is the trumpet call for patience, and this takes faith. Patience is a powerful force made possible by love, and we have a choice as to whether we exercise that gift or not. We never “lose patience,” we simply choose not to find it. If we believe that, and choose not to believe a lie, we will have patience in that situation. Of course, we are weak and will often choose to be annoyed, but it is nevertheless a choice. This will mean we will be quick to listen and slow to speak, and enter conversationally into the other person’s agenda when possible.

Thirdly, patience acknowledges that the other person may never change in regard to a particular characteristic, and excepts that without condemning the other person. Love assumes that the other born-again loving person is always pondering ways of change, and doesn’t need us to be judge, jury, and executioner. Love assumes that the other person is always self-judging and doesn’t need us to pile on. Most change comes from people deciding to follow a certain example. Think about this for a moment: do married couples have a tendency to adapt each other’s mannerisms for better or worse? Yes, so remember, this dynamic is already at work for our advantage.

Another thing that paves the way for patience is preparing our minds for action, as the apostle Peter stated it. You would think that after seven years of marriage, I would go to bed at night saying to myself, “Now, when I wakeup in the morning I am going to be focused on cutting trees down in the backyard, but Susan is probably going to be starting conversations about grandchildren etc., you know, things that can’t cut down trees. I need to put aside trees for an hour and enter into her good desires. That’s love. Patience is a powerful force that doesn’t need planning, but in our weakness it helps us to  implement it. Nevertheless, remember, impatience is condemnation and when impatience is assumed to be indifference, or disrespect, that can become a condemnation free-for-all.

Look out for our propensity to be Protestants in these situations with all of the church talking points following: “You need to change in regard to this problem.” “We need to hold each other accountable.” “We need to…”

…excuse me, do we not have enough to do already? We need to evaluate, not legislate. How did law-thinking get us here? What is more legislation going to do? It is going to further restrain our time to love and try to fix condemnation with more condemnation while subtracting from love. Love assumes the other person cares and no legislation is needed; maybe some good ideas, but not more law.

Faults are interconnected. Focusing on faults only leads to revelations about more faults until the person is totally disparaged in the eyes of others. Fault-finding assumes the other person is not motivated by love. Granted, if ill motives are involved, law may be needed, but love assumes that the other person is motivated by love overall.

In my first marriage, I owned a construction company and our forte was not really tree cutting. But times were slow, and in an endeavor to sufficiently support my family, I decided to take a job that involved cutting down three medium sized trees on a flat terrain. For the price, it looked like a no-brainer. However, I forget what kind of trees they were, but the limbs are tightly interwoven within each other and as you cut the trees apart, they unfold into more and more limbs. In other words, each tree was easily five times the work they appeared to be. Well, I was unmercifully condemned by my first wife for making a “foolish business decision.” See, this is what law does; my motive for love wasn’t even on the radar screen of her mind. Moreover, every business decision I made after that was called into question accordingly (which robs one of confidence, an essential element of success). This is what law does; and this is why the Bible calls it “the law of sin and death.” In this worldview, you either sin, or you don’t break “the law” which also includes laws dictated by the sinful desires of others to control you because that’s what sin does to begin with.

Jesus died to buy our freedom from the law, and enslave us to love.

Always continue to set the example of love for others you are in relationships with, and assume that their motive is love. People change when they want to, and how they want to, and you are not going to change that. Keep setting the right example, and learn from their examples, and share ideas about using the law for love applications, not law applications, and most of all, use the patience granted to you by the new birth.

For we are under grace and not law.

paul

 

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5 Responses

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  1. John said, on February 9, 2018 at 1:09 PM

    “We need to hold each other accountable.” Back in the dark, evil days (2000), the pastor of a Calvinist Boys’ Club assigned one male member to another. These dudes had to (no excuses) meet once a week, either for coffee or whatever but always alone, no wives involved, so that they could list the sins they had committed that week to one another and fell to their knees and repent if they please. (Yes, you’re right. I was not a member and so I did not take part in this trash).

    Surprisingly, to the pastor (who had received the idea in a vision from the sawrin gawt almighty or Michael Jackson), this idiocy ended within a couple of weeks, as guys started running out of sins and started to invent new ones simply to try to keep the insanity of accountability going.

    It bombed.

    Yes, Paul, marriage is a great test for real love, which reveals perseverance and patience. Wow, these days, it really takes me minutes to tell whether married couples love one another. Guess where the balance lies.

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  2. Barbara said, on February 9, 2018 at 3:25 PM

    Thank you Paul. This insight and observation are valuable tools for us to use in the good fight of faith. “And beyond all these things put on love which is the perfect bond of unity”.

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    • John said, on February 9, 2018 at 5:29 PM

      Exactly, Barbara. Love covers so many things . . .

      Blessings.

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  3. Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on February 9, 2018 at 5:26 PM

    I suppose that the Apostle Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that “love is patient”. I am a worrier and a nagger. I can worry a problem down into microscopic minutia, and have ba-zillion ways to “remind” Paul of things ( nagging), and yet he tries to be patient. When I taught in a Christian School, we defined patience as “waiting with a happy spirit.” Perhaps it should be redefined as “waiting with a loving spirit”, which is more difficult. I have much to be thankful for in our marriage and when I find myself comparing and complaining I must confess that as not practicing the law of love. Susan Dohse

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    • John said, on February 9, 2018 at 5:33 PM

      Susan, you and Paul make a great team. Microscopic minutia is needed too! This is a hurried world, but Paul is a lucky man, and you are a lucky woman.(lucky=blessed).

      I wait with the spirit, pretty scary sometimes.

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