Patience and kindness

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
A few days ago I read a delightful little book written by Henry Drummond recommended to me by a dear friend. The Greatest Thing in the World is what Professor Drummond decided love is. His research, soul-searching, and knowledge led him to write this profound little book on 1 Corinthians 13. He concluded that love is indeed “the supreme thing,” or “summum bonum.” Man and woman searches for love in its various forms and often portions of it, but not the total package that Drummond writes about in his book.

He concluded after years of faithful study that the spectrum of love has nine ingredients or parts based on the verses in our chapter. We would do well to study these verses, meditate on them daily, and attempt to put each one into practice in our lives. Mother Teresa once said that the world is dying for lack of love. The longer I live, the more I realize that everyone deep down in their inner being wants to love and be loved in an honest relationship. Let’s think on these components.

Patience – “Love suffers long.”
Kindness – “And is kind.”
Generosity – “Love envies not.”
Humility – “Love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up or proud.”
Courtesy – “Does not behave itself unseemly.”
Unselfishness – “Seeks not her own.”
Good temper – “Is not easily provoked.”
Guilelessness – “Thinks no evil.”
Sincerity – “Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in truth.”

Any one of these nine traits would be helpful in life, but imagine loving and being loved by people that strive to incorporate all of them into their everyday lives. How very quick we are to run out of patience with others. If something doesn’t go our way, benefit us in some direct manner, help us in our journey, we lose patience, and lash out at the supposed offender.

Drummond contends that patience is love in the passive. Love that is waiting to begin, not in a hurry, calm, ready to do its work when the summons comes, but meantime, remaining meek and quiet. Love suffers long, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and love understands, and therefore waits. How many things do we give up simply because we are not patient? We are not willing to wait on God’s timing. We tend to live in a “now” world. We want immediate satisfaction. We want immediate pay or blessing. We want to get on with it, and often, we miss some of God’s best blessings because of our own impatience.

I admit I am a “get it done” kind of person. I usually have at least one to do list and work on it daily until I get things accomplished. I have to remind myself almost daily to work on developing patience. I don’t like lazy, and I often confuse a lack of work ethic with impatience. My bad.

Drummond believed that kindness is love active. He asks us to consider how much of Christ’s life on earth was spent in simply doing kind things for others. He spent a great deal of his time in simply making people happy. “The greatest thing a man can do for his Heavenly Father is to be kind to some of his other children,” wrote Drummond. The world needs kindness now more than ever in my lifetime. Kindness brings instant results in many cases. It is remembered with great glee and often begats other acts of kindness. Kindness pays itself back in so many ways.

I have heard kindness described as a rippling in a calm lake ever spreading until it reaches shore. One act of kindness done with pure motives seems to set off this rippling effect and we seldom know where it will end and just how many folks it will help. It costs so little to be kind.

We’ll look at some of the other attributes in 1 Corinthians in future columns. One word here about a decision in the literary world. It has become the common and accepted practice to no longer capitalize the pronouns associated with deity for clarity’s sake.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or

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