a short chapter that calls out a sin we all deal with. be it with our spouse, our kids, our roommates, behind the wheel of a car, with our co-workers, etc. it does not take a hard search to see this sin in our lives. we tend to exhibit this sin most easily with those who we spend a lot of time with.
bridges defines impatience as "a strong sense of annoyance at the (usually) unintentional faults and failures of others. this impatience is often expressed verbally in a way that tends to humiliate the person (or persons) who is the object of the impatience"(116).
he defines irritability as "the frequency of impatience, or the ease with which a person can become impatient over the slightest provocation"(118).
impatience exposes our pride. we think our way of doing something is better. we think our time is more important. we think we are smarter, sharper or better, etc. we are hardly putting someone else before ourselves. we do not think that someone else is as valuable as christ would see them. as with pride, in the midst of our impatience, our own faults diminish.
bridges also points out that someone else does not cause our impatience. they just provide an opportunity for the flesh to assert itself. "the actual cause of our impatience lies within our own hearts, in our own attitude of insisting that others around us conform to our expectations"(117).
in the latter half of the chapter, the author talks about our response if we are the object of someone elses impatience. there are two improper responses: 1) start a "war of words." say something back that is sharp and cutting so they will know they cannot talk to you like that. 2)inwardly seethe and resent the person who has sinned against you (i think bridges wrote that one for me.)
he says that biblically we have two options: 1) follow the example of christ who "when he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued trusting himself to him who judges justly" (1 peter 2:23) and 2) confront the person, but "only when you have resolved the issue in your own heart and can speak to the other person for his or her benefit, not just to make your own life more pleasant" (119).
impatience is an easy sin to let slide, but i know this chapter has made me examine why i get so irritated and annoyed and 9 times out of 10 it is purely selfish.