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My old neighbor from Saskatchewan called last week because rain had put a stop to his harvesting. Ruby, Ed’s wife, uses the computer at their house. She graciously finds grain prices and other agricultural information that Ed desires from time to time. Ed could not understand how I could be so frustrated when I could not log into an account I had been using for years on my computer.
“Aren’t you as a Christian supposed to be patient, and not easily angered?” Ed asked me.
“Yes,” I answered. “I have no excuse for my impatience or the fact that I can get angry about what others would think of as an unimportant matter.”
Ed said with lots of satisfaction, “It is just another case of a preacher not adhering to what he preaches!”
“I have a long record of trying to be more patient and less frustrated or angry when I run into a brick wall. Yet, my record shows a very hit and miss progress.” I told Ed.
“You should have a better than a hit or miss record,” Ed said.
“Would you like me better if I could tell you I am always patient, and never easily angered? If I told you that it would be a lie,” I said.
Ed had needled me enough and changed the subject. When it comes to God’s word, there is no changing his law. God’s word is clear and exacting, “Love is patient, and it is not easily angered.” It is stated that I should be kind, without envy, not boastful, rude or self-seeking. I should also keep no record of wrongs. I know what I need to do in love, but that does not mean I can do it perfectly, or even well. I take seriously my need to try to obey God’s word even though my actions miss the mark of perfection. Only Jesus Christ obeyed God’s law completely or perfectly.
God’s laws or rules make us conscious of our sin or our inability to keep the law or obey it fully. Our righteousness or obedience to God is always hit or miss without a righteousness from God apart from our own efforts. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. The Bible confirms. “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
When we look at other Christians, we may decide that what they do seems less than the best that they could do. It might seem they are impatient rather than patient. They may seem to be too often angered over unimportant issues to us. We forget we are not in the place of God and have not right to judge others or try to get even with them if they have offended us.
Joseph is famous from the Old Testament for forgiving his brothers who planned to kill him but instead sold him into slavery. Joseph knew God brought good for many out of the evil actions of his brothers towards him. My hope is on built on Jesus’ righteousness, not my own imperfect actions.