But, I have also been that person in line who is causing the long line due to shopping with small children and purchasing a lot of items. You will get the “stares” and the “eyes roll” and the “bad attitude” towards you. they all state with their eyes saying, “How dare you get into line with all of those items when I am on my lunch break and need to get back to work NOW!!” You all know those stares. Well, human nature causes us to make everything about us. And I have actually overheard people talk about each other, complete strangers, in line at the grocery store. It is completely saddening.
Because I have been in the situation where I have had people stare at me while shopping, I have learned to practice patience with others in front of me in line. When I hear people behind me talking loud or getting frustrated and they tell me things like, “The cashier is so slow”, or “OMG, why did I have to get into this line?” I simply smile and say, “Well, everyone has a bad day or maybe they are new.” Or, I may simply state, “Its ok, I’m pretty patient” and they look at me as if I have lost my mind. When I choose to ignore them, they turn to someone else looking to start a conversation of lashon hara (evil and mindless chatter) about the person who they believe is causing the problem in line.
Now, I will point out in this situation that when we do not respond to negativity, the cause of the negativity still wants to create drama. Therefore the person seeking it will also seek out anyone who will listen and participate in it. So when we remain patient, HaShem then blesses us with peace and gives us the strength that we need to remain patient, even when we really don’t want to be in the situation. And finally, because we are patient and peaceful, we can then minister to those who are having a problem.
For example, if it is a mom in front of me and she is taking a long time - I like to interact with her and say things like, “I shop like this all of the time” or “Isn’t it amazing that all of this food is gone within a few days?”. These types of responses often calms the anxious mom down and gives her peace. She then knows that she is not alone and that other people go through the same things. I also respond this same way to cashiers who are training just to boost their confidence or families on the airplane whose children are crying.
It is amazing that as humans, we are often mean to each other. And what is worst are the amount of believers that I see being impatient with others when they are called to be a light to the world. It is of my strong opinion that if more believers would stop nagging and practice true patience that our lives would be blessed beyond measure and situations in our lives that are hard and taxing would simply disappear. But life situations do not work out for us the majority of the time because we judge others harshly and we speak harshly about and towards others.
We are a people of impatience, plain and simple and we need to understand that our words and actions cause others to cry and feel bad about themselves. Our great Jewish sages and Rabbis teach that when we cause pain to others we are indirectly sinning against HaShem himself. Heaven forbid that we do this! This is why the greatest commandment in the Word of G-d is to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF!!! So when we hurt each other, we hurt the body as a whole and it is crippled. A crippled body can not produce power or light and we automatically dim our testimony to the world of our Messiah.
I hope and pray that we as believers turn towards HaShem and ask for forgiveness for hurting each other because of our own lack of patience and that we stop causing others to despair. It is a great blessing to go through situations in life that require patience as it teaches us that all things - even a calm spirit - comes from HaShem and that we alone can do nothing on our own accord. Those who do not learn the Fruits of the Spirit can not understand love because love conquers all things. And we can not truly say that we have love for G-d if we do not have love for each other. Patience gives us strength and helps to correct our souls so that our yetzer hara- the evil inclination (a.k.a. “the flesh”) dies daily. So to be patient is freedom, as it gives HaShem complete control over our emotions and deeds so that we are being human beings can live a life full of shalom, joy and healthy interaction with each other.