Patience and Forgiveness
There are multiple characteristics required to be manifested in the lives of those who profess to be Christians. We are not given the liberty to profess Christ and then live however we deem acceptable, but rather we are called to live on that higher plane. As the apostle Paul wrote – “and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). We have been saved from our sins and God has seated us with Jesus in the heavenly places. This requires our full and complete devotion to God’s Word. Our faithfulness will be tested in multiple ways in our daily lives, and it does not take a break when we are on vacation.
The wonderful world of Mickey Mouse promises laughter, memories, and happiness. What is not on the brochure is the heat, suffocating crowds, broken down rides, and every one having either a stroller or ECV (electronic convenience vehicle; or scooter). I can clearly remember easier days of touring without the crazy crowds, but the popularity of these four theme parks is undeniable. The Magic Kingdom averages nearly 21 million visitors a year and is the world’s most visited theme park. When you add to this equation the thousands of strollers and other devices used in transportation, walking around this theme park often times make one feel like cattle.
This past visit was another memorable vacation for our family. We got to ride our favorite rides, minus those down for refurbishment, and we got to encounter new things along the way. On the trip, I averaged around 17k steps per day, or 6-7 miles of walking per day. This is definitely not your average vacation. We were also asking our boys to do things well outside their normal range of walking. We would rest occasionally by sitting down longer at our meals to enable our legs to regain strength prior to reentering the heat and hustle of touring Disney World.
One thing that amazed me throughout our trip was the courtesy and kindness of everyone in regard to our touring. I must admit that occasionally I would not pay attention when pushing our stroller, and I would hit someone. This always put me in the awkward position of inflicting pain on someone else and feeling terrible for being the cause. Therefore, the two most common phrases spoken by me during our trip were – “I’m sorry!” and “Excuse me.” What was amazing was the people’s response – “No worries.” We may have had the occasional outlier who would not accept our apology, but the overwhelming majority of people were patient and forgiving toward my mistake. This caused me to think about my attitude toward others. Am I manifesting a similar attitude of patience and forgiveness toward those who may injure me at times?
We have been called as Christians to imitate our Savior. The apostle John wrote – “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6). Jesus manifested a tremendous amount of patience and forgiveness throughout His ministry – can the same be said concerning my life? The Christian is commanded multiple times to demonstrate patience toward all (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:4a; Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; etc.). The Christian is also commanded to be willing to forgive (cf. Luke 17:3-4; Matthew 6:14-15). How are we doing in these two areas of walking in the steps of our Savior?
Our profession of Christ is a full-time duty and obligation. We are not allowed to take time off or go on vacation from being a Christian. We are to exemplify our Savior in our lives whenever and wherever we may go. It may not always be easy to portray patience toward everyone or be willing to forgive those who have repented of their mistakes, but we are not excused from these commandments. Our God has continually shown His patience and forgiveness toward every Christian, and we must be willing to do the same toward one another. May God bless our efforts to maintain our patience with everyone and our willingness to forgive.