Character Trait: Longsuffering

Character Trait: Long Suffering

According to Webster’s Dictionary the first known use of the word longsuffering was in 1535. Today the word is rarely used and mostly misunderstood. Many believe it is interchangeable with with patience. While the definitions are similar the distinction is very important. To understand the difference we need to find the biblical definition. You see it is possible to be patient and not longsuffering. We must examine this further to know how to walk in the spirit.

Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; ~Col. 1:11

As you can see from the Word, patience and longsuffering have separate definitions and purposes. We need to learn the distinction if we are to understand the part of the fruit of the spirit which is longsuffering.


Longsuffering comes from the Greek word makrothumia which means slow anger or long temper. The word specifically deals with people. Paul instructs Timothy to exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:2) In Ephesians 4:2-3, Paul uses the word longsuffering when speaking to the Christians in Ephesus on how they are to relate to one another.


Patience comes from the Greek word hypomone which refers to dealing with circumstances. Romans 12:12 speaks of being patient in tribulation. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to run with patience the race that is set before us.

Ways to Teach Long Suffering

Longsuffering is a fruit of the spirit. Developing this fruit can only be done by walking in the spirit and allowing God to grow the work in you. Your role is to demonstrate the fruit of longsuffering to your children. Demonstrate this by your handling of those who are outside the will of God or unsaved. Continue to witness and show Christ’s love through persecution and the denial held firm by an unsaved person. Teach your children the difference between longsuffering and being patient so they understand which is the fruit of the spirit. They need to understand how God is longsuffering with us in order to allow this trait to shine through them.

Scripture on Long Suffering

But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. ~ Psalm 86:15

Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; ~Col. 1:11

Discussion Time

1. Which is a picture of longsuffering:

a) A man waits patiently as the Lord directs him to a new job.

b) A mother is longsuffering when she lovingly deals with a child who is out of will of God.


2. How faithful in love and compassion are we to the faithless or the ones who hurt us? Determine when enough is enough for you and ask yourself when enough is enough for God.

3. Give an example of a time you demonstrated longsuffering and a time you demonstrated patience.


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