Love, joy and peace
three virtues, over-simplified,
three fairly well-understood hallmarks
desired by many, rejected by very few
who live in community with others.

Patience, goodness, kindness
Patience, I readily admit is my own Achilles’ heel.
Goodness and kindness seem to overlap.
And yet I have come to understand that they are world’s apart.

Being kind, I'd hesitate to mention your blatant shortcomings,
those faults which would hurt your feelings and separate us.
Being good, I am obligated to make you aware
of wrongdoings that weaken your purpose and cause others
to mistrust and ignore you. Goodness goes that extra mile.
Friends can tell friends the truth even if it hurts
in the hope of making a better friend.

Faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
the last three of the nine qualities which folks consider
in understanding consequence in relationships.
Gentleness coincides with kindness and goodness,
for there is a way in which the truth can be told
with the intent of a stronger friendship.
Gentleness I relate to humility, and if I
see you my friend headed for that lonely place of
no return, I feel duty-bound to share with you
any error I see that can be rectified, forgiven.
Through faithfulness and self-control,
I can rest at night knowing that
there are NO secrets between you and me that
I would regret if you died tomorrow
and I knew I had not told you the truth.

inspired by Galatians 5:22-23