I demonstrate my love for my church by warning the unruly, comforting the feeble and upholding the weak. Paul continues to write in I Thessalonians 5 that I am also to “be patient toward all men.” There’s no need for going into a deep word study here. “Patient” literally means “long to wrath” or “longsuffering.” It carries the idea of bearing long with someone.
We find the same word in I Corinthians 13:4, “Love suffers long and is kind…” Hebrews 6:15 uses it to describe the patriarch Abraham who “after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” James 5:7-8 describes waiting patiently for the coming of the Lord like a farmer waits for rain.
II Peter 3:9 tells us that this is a characteristic of God, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” In fact, we could survey verse after verse in a limitless study of the patience of God.
To whom are we to “be patient with?” We are to be patient “with all,” with everyone in the church. The obvious point is that there are some people who try our patience. They irritate us. They get under our skin. Here’s what this statement means: to love the church is to be patient with everyone in the church, especially that person you may be thinking of. Why? Because God is at work in his or her life just as He is in yours.