Sunday, June 10, 2012

Longsuffering in the Christian Life

In his book Charity and Its Fruits, Jonathan Edwards wrote as follows about meekness and longsuffering in the Christian's life:

And meekness, as it respects injuries received from men, is called longsuffering in the Scriptures, and is often mentioned as an exercise, or fruit of the Christian spirit (Gal. v 22). . . He, therefore, that exercises a Christian long-suffering towards his neighbor, will bear the injuries received from him without revenging or retaliating, either by injurious deeds or bitter words. He will bear it without doing anything against his neighbor that shall manifest the spirit of resentment, without speaking to him, or of him, with revengeful words, and without allowing a revengeful spirit in his heart, or manifesting it in his behavior. . . .

"Not that all endeavours in men to defend and right themselves, when they are injured by others, are censurable, or that they should suffer all the injuries that their enemies please to bring upon them, rather than improve an opportunity they have to defend and vindicate themselves, even though it be to the damage of him that injures them. But in many, and probably in most cases, men ought to suffer long first, in the spirit of the long-suffering charity of the text. And the case may often be such, that they may be called to suffer considerably, as charity and prudence shall direct, for the sake of peace, and from a sincere Christian love to the one that injures them, rather than deliver themselves in the way they may have opportunity for.”

I've used Edwards words as a springboard for a week's worth of Bible readings on the topic of longsuffering in the Christians life. You can download the Bible study and the reflection questions that go with it at a pdf at the Charles Colson Center by clicking here.

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