PERFECT PATIENCE was the designation Cyprian of Carthage (c. 210 – 258) gave Jesus. We could say that life wisdom and God’s will line up in the achievement of patience. Against every sin it is patience that helps us overcome.
Against the whole suite of the seven deadly sins, patience can help:
Against pride, patience reconciles us to humility. It warns us that our pride will get us nowhere. And from humility we may have the wisdom to bear patiently. And such patient humility delivers us to peace so we may experience hope and joy. It is by far better to pour contempt on our pride by patience through repentance than it is to continue being erroneously, and perhaps ignorantly (in self-righteousness), unruly against God.
Against envy, patience works to slow us down enough to be thankful for what we have. Being with very little we have much capacity to be content. We have so much in life; if we can see what we have been saved from. Patience against envy helps us to stand back with perspective. And perspective in the personal and interpersonal life is always beneficial.
Against anger, patience is a Godsend. Does patience address anything better than anger? Is there a better, more appropriate solution to anger than patience? What we need most when we’re angry is to slow down and cool the emotions. Patience gets us in touch with reason.
Against gluttony, patience helps to ward off those desires for pleasure. Patience gives us access to self-control. Gluttony is one of those sins that creeps us, but it can be perceived if we’re self-aware. Patience makes us sensitive to what the senses would otherwise bark at us with. Gluttony is abuse and patience is a sensitive limit.
Against lust, patience gives us the self-control we need to bear with our flesh that entices us. Again, with senses drawn toward satisfaction — at any cost, when at extremes — patience reasons us back into a worthy self-control.
Against greed, patience counsels that enough is enough. Again the desires rule roughshod. But patience girds up strength that comes from God. That strength is moral fortitude.
Against sloth, patience sees patience taken too far. Having become skilled in the deployment of patience we then run the gauntlet of becoming slovenly regarding time. We may become less purpose-driven than we ought to be. We are sealed for a purpose. We are also saved for a purpose. Sloth renders us impotent to our purpose. But patience leads us to accept that there is a slothful threat.
Patience gives us power to overcome our sin. Patience helps us overcome our pride by humility, our envy by contentedness, our anger, our gluttony and lust by self-control, our greed by fortitude, and our sloth by purpose.
Patience is a one-stop-shop of virtue against the conundrum of sin.
No virtue gives us self-control better than patience.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.