Long-nostriled — that’s how Wayne Bray, pastor of First Baptist Church Simpsonville, South Carolina, described patience during his pastoral talk at the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors Conference on June 12.
“The Hebrew word for patience is really two words that mean long nostrils,” he said, explaining that the phrase paints a picture of taking a deep breath.
“It’s choosing to be calm with a motivation of love and concern and reconciliation,” Bray said. “Long suffering doesn’t mean we never get mad, we never take a stand. It means we have a long fuse. When we get angry, it’s at the right time, in the right way, for the right reasons.”
‘Get back to the mission’
He said the same “spirit of aggression and bitterness” that the Pharisees displayed 2,000 years ago when they would interrogate Jesus in an attempt to discredit Him has characterized the Southern Baptist Convention in recent days.
“I refuse to believe that this is how it’s going to be, how it has to be. … I’m just a Southern Baptist pastor who wants to get back to the mission and stop wasting time with needless things,” Bray said.
He said Southern Baptists “have become addicted to the fight.”
“We’re complacent about lostness. We’re conditioned to assume the worst of one another. We’ve become averse to cooperation,” he said. “What could have possibly brought this upon the Southern Baptist Convention? … We’ve become short fused. We’ve become short tempered. We’ve been losing our patience a lot lately.”
‘Heart of hope’
Bray said if Southern Baptists would spend the time they spend burning bridges building them instead, they would be shocked how fast they would get back to the mission and people’s lives would be changed like they once were.
“God is still able to bring us back together and to bring reconciliation even in the place of division,” Bray said. “It’s with that heart of hope that I plead with my Southern Baptist brothers and sisters in this short time, may we demonstrate spiritual fruit and be more patient with each other.”