“For the friendship of two, the patience of one is necessary” (Anonymous). Patience with people is one of those things that may not produce great results right away. However, over time it will prove to be beneficial. Relationships of any depth take time to grow. “The greatest virtues are those which are most useful to the other person” (Aristotle).
One reason developing relationships take time is because people have problems and people create problems. It is a double-edge sword. People can be the source of our greatest joy, or they can be the source of our greatest problems. Once we decide to develop a relationship with another person, it is a package deal. We don’t get to take the good stuff and reject the bad. Everybody has problems, blind spots, and bad habits. The Golden Rule is a great anecdote.
A second reason developing relationships take time is because all relationships have give-up, give-in, and give and takes. There may be things I like to do, but I sacrifice for the good of my relationship with the other person. Every married person realizes this, and every parent does, too. Also, there may be times there are things I do not like to do that I must do. I don’t know that it is a real joy to have to get up in the middle of the night to care for a sick child that is throwing up. But it is something a parent must do. There will be times I get what I want and times I give the other what he or she wants. All of these are voluntary.
I think there is a good passage for all of this: “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:1-4, NKJV).
Finally, relationships are all that we have: a relationship with God, our mate, our children, our friends, our brethren, and people in society. Isn’t it important that we try to walk in the other person’s shoes a while? People need our patience, and I need the patience of people, too. Last I checked, people are all there are. And, last I checked, God sent His Son for people who are lost. He wants a relationship with us, and He is awfully patient with us, too.