When was the last time you had to be patient with someone? Our culture isn’t exactly keen on patience… We can’t even wait in a check-out line without some smartphone entertainment! Being patient while waiting in line is one thing, but being patient with another person is sometimes even harder. Sometimes that friend actually did mess up on something, and their mistake might cause you to have to stop and wait. Being patient with others can be the hardest time to have patience! So then, what can we do?
This week we looked at a parable in Matthew 18:21-35. This is a story Jesus told his disciples about two servants who both had debts. The first servant owed his master an exorbitant amount of money; so high a payment that he likely could work his entire life and never fully make the payment. He asked his master to be patient with him, and the master, being good and forgiving, forgave the servant of the entire amount! Can you imagine how the servant must have felt? Instead of relieved and grateful, it looks like this servant turned to greed next. He went to his friend and asked for the friend to repay his (very small) debt. Instead of showing patience to another, he showed extreme impatience! The story highlights the contrast of the two responses, and makes clear how God intends for us to respond to His great patience.
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At dinner this week, review the story from this week in Matthew 18:21-35. Are there other examples in the Bible about being forgiven of big things? How many examples are there? Bring Jesus into the story, because this parable is a great example of our Heavenly Father being the greatest Master of all! For those of us who have trusted in Jesus for our lives, we have been forgiven the most exorbitant debt we could ever think of, and one we are unable to repay. Celebrate with gratitude for this!
While driving in the car this week, have everyone in the family practice this month’s memory verse: Psalm 27:13-14. Ask your kids if there have been any times this week when they’ve had to wait patiently for the Lord? It could be small (waiting for the sun to come out), or big!
During bedtime this week, talk more about times God has been patient with you and your child. Give specific examples from your life (times you didn’t want to obey what God said, times you didn’t want to ask for someone’s forgiveness), and ask for your child to give examples too. Pray together and thank God for His patience. Ask Him to help you to trust Him more.
One morning this week, point out opportunities for patience with others as you’re getting ready for the day. (Opportunities will abound!) Is one sibling taking too long in the bathroom? Point this out to your child to tell them it’s an opportunity to practice patience! If the mornings are too crazy, role-play different scenarios the night before. For example, one child takes 5 minutes in front of the mirror and child2 gets impatient, but then child2 takes 10 minutes getting ready, etc. Offer alternative ways to handle and communicate through these scenarios.
Thank God for His unending patience with you. Ask Him to give you the patience & strength to deal with the challenging people in your life. Ask Him to help you glorify Him in the way you show patience to others.
Next week we will continue studying patience, and will look at Psalm 40 and James 5:7-9. God’s timing is always best!