“Have patience with me,” cried the slave as he begged his fellow-slave for mercy (Matt.18:29).
This is also the unspoken cry that comes to us as housewives and mothers from many of those with whom we have to do each day. But we need to be sensitive in our spirits if we are to hear that cry – for it is unspoken.
It may be that our children are slow at learning something that we have repeatedly been trying to teach them, and we are sorely tempted to become impatient with them. If we could hear their unspoken cry, saying, “Have patience with me, I am trying my best to do it right,” then it would be easier for us to overcome the temptation to get irritated with them.
Perhaps the servant who helps us with our work around the home is somewhat clumsy, and not as clean as we want her to be, and we are tempted to be hard on her. But her unspoken cry is, “Have patience with me. Give me another chance and I’ll improve” – and we are presented with another opportunity to be more gentle.
Or it may be that our aged parents, being old and infirm, are now dependent on us. Their feeble, unspoken cry is also, “Have patience with me. I don’t want to trouble you, but I need your help now.” If we are sensitive to their feelings, we will hear their cry and help them, without depriving them of their dignity, and without letting them feel their dependence.
Perhaps the behaviour of our fellow-sisters in the church is a trial for us. Their unspoken cry is also, “Have patience with me. I still lack a lot of wisdom.” Then we realise that they also, like us, are struggling towards perfection.
In such situations, we all find a tendency in our flesh to be like that unmerciful slave. Yet those are the very times when we need to remember afresh how much we have been forgiven by God, and how patient others have been with our own follies.
So we should have our spiritual ears attuned at all times to hear the cry for patience that comes to us from our fellow-slaves – both young and old.
“Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:4).