But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Galatians 5:22 (NKJV)

Longsuffering is the fourth attribute of the fruit of the Spirit.

The Greek word for longsuffering is makrothymia, which means "not losing heart, mild, and slow to punish." It is a compound word (makros, which means "of long duration," and thumos, which means "anger") that depicts God's forbearance and extreme patience with us. The Holy Spirit desires that we show the same patience to others (and to ourselves) in order to have healthy and fruitful relationships.

Patience is not the same as passive waiting.

It involves laying the groundwork for change and getting things ready ahead of time so that you can effect change at some point in time. Patience, in other words, is calculated action and a well-thought-out method of doing something well. It's like a farmer who knows when to plant and then patiently waits for the right time to harvest.

When we are patient with others, especially those who have angered or disappointed us, we are less likely to damage our relationship with them and more likely to trust God to restore the relationship. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus portrayed God in this manner. The father was filled with compassion and patience as he waited and watched for his errant son to return. And when he saw his son approaching in the distance, he humiliated himself in public by running toward him, wrapping his arms around him, and continuously kissing him.

When you allow God to truly love you, you will be able to love and patiently extend the same to others. If you're having trouble loving someone or showing them patience and compassion, go back to the source and supply of all true love and drink deeply.

The Holy Spirit is our helper. You can rely on Him to provide what you require and to give you the strength and grace to forgive, accept, and love others—not because they deserve it, but because the Holy Spirit has already filled your heart to overflowing.