How to Develop Patience Toward Others

Girls arguing“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” (Proverbs 17:9)

What household doesn’t need to grow in the area of patience?

Ours does! It seems like home is the place where our patience is often most tried. Home is where we’re tempted to become careless. We live with people who love us. They’ll still love us, even when we annoy them, right? They’ll understand how tired we are when we make that rude remark, won’t they? It is easy to sin most against the people who love us most.

Is there any chance you and your children might have some room to grow in the area of patience?

Here’s a project to try out with your family:

  • Read Proverbs 17:9 together.
  • Read the verse in different translations.
  • Discuss the verse together. What does it mean to cover a transgression?
  • If you need help understanding the verse, read a reliable Bible commentary (see links at the end of this post).
  • Memorize the verse together.
  • Instead of growing angry, seeking revenge, or tattle-telling, a child many times simply needs to overlook a perceived wrong. For minor issues, teach your children to lovingly overlook them. (For major offenses, the offender will still need to be disciplined.)
  • Focus for a day (or week) on learning to cover the minor offenses of others.

For young children:

Instruct them to come to you (without responding in any way to the offender) when they believe they have been wronged.

Write their complaint down on a piece of paper. For your review at the end of the day, also record the name of the offender. You may need to talk with some of these “repeat offenders” at the end of the day.

On another piece of paper, write the word “love”. (This piece of paper can be cut in the shape of a heart if you like.)

Recite Proverbs 17:9 together. Cover the written complaint with the “love” paper. Discuss with your child the need to cover this offense with love. Can he overlook it? Can he be patient, realizing that the offender probably did not intentionally annoy or offend him?

Pray with the child, asking God to give him the grace to overlook the wrong. Send him back to the situation with instructions to not say any more about it.

Continue this process throughout the day until you believe your child is ready to overlook the offense without your help. Then instruct him to recite Proverbs 17:9 to himself and to pray to God for the grace to patiently overlook and forget the offense. He should not report his grievances to you.

At the end of the day, review the child’s complaints with him. Is he being easily provoked? Over-sensitive? Self-righteous? Pray for God’s work in his heart, and for strength to do better tomorrow.

For older children:

Instruct them to stop and recite Proverbs 17:9 when they believe they have been wronged. They should pray for God’s love and grace to overlook the offense. Discuss the day with them before bedtime. What did they learn about themselves? Are they being overly sensitive, critical, or easily irritated? Pray together for the grace to do even better tomorrow.

For the offenders:

Your review of the day may reveal that a particular child is constantly provoking others. Discuss the problem with that child, discipline him, and pray for God’s help to become more loving and considerate of others.

Recommended Commentaries:

  • BibleStudyTools.com includes many study tools that can help you.
  • Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible is a theologically sound commentary on every verse in the Bible. You can read Matthew Henry’s Commentaries online here.
  • The site also includes a condensed version of Matthew Henry’s commentary for quick reference.
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42 Comments

  1. You have a great ministry to helping families grow in Godly character. Thank you!

  2. I have been a fan of Doorposts for years! This blog will be a great thing to follow! Thank you!

  3. This is a great an easy activity to work on character building. I am excited to do this with my son and can’t wait to read other posts like this.

  4. RaShell Southerland

    Thank you! These are going to be great projects to work through with the children. May the Lord continue to bless you as you have been a blessing to so many families!

  5. This is a fantastic idea! Thank you for sharing. :o) We need more patience in our house. It’s been a very long, almost year for our family. Our oldest met Jesus in June, and then we moved to the Pacific Northwest 6 weeks later. I find my patience thin very often, I think due to my grief. Evan (my surviving child) and I have been working in Plants Grown Up. What a blessing that book is for us! I onyl wish I could meet your family in person and bring Evan on a fieldtrip to Doorpost. Thank you all for being such a beautiful example, and letting Christ work through your hearts to reach other families. :o)

    Shannon

  6. I am a huge fan of Doorposts, and we love your products to help in our home! Thank you so much for this awesome character building help!

  7. I just pulled up your blog and my 6 year old daughter was with me. After seeing the picture posted, she asked me if I went to bad manners dot com. I just thought it was sweet and wanted to share.

  8. That’s great, Emily! Thanks for making me laugh!

  9. Thanks so much for all you do – we all need patience, and today was a huge reminder – thanks for the biblical counsel and practical activities we can use!

    I added you to my LIKES on Facebook!

  10. I have also requested to follow you by email. I love your products!

  11. Excellent, thank you!

  12. Thanks for the new blog. I love that you are on Facebook, too!

  13. Such practical counsel! The last two weeks have stretched the patience of everyone at our house; this is a great reminder to get refocused 🙂 THANK YOU!

  14. I absolutely love your products. They are so practical and easy to use. What a blessing you have been to me.

  15. Your products are a total BLESSING in our lives. They have been absolutely instrumental in building my children’s character, and my own in the process!!!
    God bless you!

  16. Wonderful practical biblical parenting – wonderful wonderful!

  17. Wow! I guess I’m not alone in being excited about your new site…I can’t get my comment onto the giveaway post (my computer freezes when it tries to open up the 1500+ other comments)!

  18. Very nice devotion on patience and forgiveness–this mommy really needed to hear this message. I really like the idea of putting the “heart” over the offence to cover it. We will definitely use this soon. Thank you!

  19. Thank you so much for this valuable way to share Doorposts with friends! I have used Doorposts’ resources for 10 years, and have been so blessed. Whenever I’m wondering how to handle a subject or issue with my boys, I almost always end up using one of Doorposts’ many resources! Your ministry is a gift from God!

  20. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Our family just recently purchased a good bit of your products and are slowing working through it with our children and as parents. We are LOVING it and are so thankful for you all’s time and work that went into your products and setting up this new site to help and encourage families as well….you all are AWESOME! I have registered for your blog reminders and will forward you email on. However, we don’t take part in Facebook at all because I am like a child in many ways and would spend too much time on the PC if I had it…no time for a blog currently either….with raising and homeschooling five little ones 8 years old and under, I just feel my free time is short and that will have to be put off in the “one day” list! Thanks guys!!!

  22. we used doorposts material with our children many, many years ago.
    i have signed up to receive your emails.
    thank you.

  23. Thanks for the great idea. My husband and I are looking for practical tips in this area right at this moment, so it is very timely. God bless.

  24. i have signed up for your email.

  25. I have liked you on facebook and am very excited about this site. Looking forward to new ideas and encouragement!

  26. I use your material for all three of my kids and I really like the concept. Looking forward to other character building projects. I have signed up for updates on the blog as well.
    Thanks again!

  27. Thank you! I’ve started making our own desktop pictures using pictures we’ve taken and adding Bible verses for differently daily encouragements. I didn’t use that verse yet. I have added it and can’t wait to share it.

  28. I have a child who has been dealing with this very issue of.being easily offended and holding grudges against thier siblings… which has probably been a temptation to us all at some time or another in our lives. This is great teaching I am going to share with my children today! It is a reminder to me the huge responsibility I have to teach the kids godly principles from His word.

  29. The word of the Lord has changed the hearts of my children. Your resources have pointed us in the right direction so many times during conflicts. Thank you for your ministry.

  30. I printed this out and plan to share it with the children at breakfast. Thank you!

  31. I like your new blog and look forward to reading more! Thank you for the opportunity to win some of your products! I “liked” you on FB too.

  32. I posted it to facebook.

  33. Thank you so much for sharing Christ’s love and instruction through your blog! What a great help to families!

  34. This is a great idea and a helpful post. I will put this into practice in our home this week. I am looking forward to more of this type of encouragement and challenge. Thank you!

  35. I’m excited to use this lesson with my two girls. Thank you for this wonderful teaching tool. I shared this link with the Children’s Pastor at our church.

  36. Wow, this is a wonderful blog and a great post! I live in Germany and I am not a native English speaker. So I am still struggeling if I will order your book polished cornerstones. But this post is just what I needed to read today. I will print it and translate it for my family! Thank you so much for sharing!
    (There is no chance that your books are translatet, isn’t it??)
    Yours Katja

  37. Great ideas. For the parents too. Thank you.

  38. This ia a very nice site. Thank-you Ann Marie for finding it fir us.

  39. Thank you so much! I am a stay at home, homeschooling mom to three little ones and every day we deal with this issue. I’ve been trying to come up with a creative way to teach them the importance of patience and forgiveness. I am so excited about this idea and have exlained it to my kids and they are excited too. I never thought I’d be looking foward to someone losing their temper with their brother or sister! =o) Thank you for all you do. You have had such a tremendous impact in our lives and I thank you for it! God bless your family!

  40. We are getting ready to study and work on patience over here. I love this idea and appreciate the tip on how to do it with younger children. My three year old is currently terrorizing his brothers and I sort of need to ‘know’ when he’s doing it, so I can address that with him.

  41. This sounds very helpful for myself and my 4 daughters. It seems someone is always offended as spring slowly comes but maybe this activity will help all of us, God willing. Thank you for the blog

  42. Great post! Direction we need in our house.

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