Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity (Colossians 3:12-14, NIV).
What to wear? Have you ever stood at the closet door asking that very question? Well, Paul gives us the answer.
In verse 8 Paul told us to “rid ourselves” of anger, rage, malice, slander, etc. etc. The Greek word there is the same word for disrobing. Once we take off these raggedy, dirty clothes, what should we put on?
These rags are exchanged for this beautiful wardrobe:
- Compassion is kindness expressed in thought – that we actually care for others
- Kindness is expressed in word and deed – we don’t just think nice things, but actually do them
- Humility puts others before ourselves
- Gentleness describes the calm and peaceful way we minister to others
- Patience is often translated as long-suffering…not reacting in passion before we think about our response
- Bearing with each other means putting up with each other
- Forgiving…well, you know what that means – but the Apostle reminds us that Jesus is our great example
Each of these garments with which we are called to clothe ourselves describes how we relate to others. But none of it is possible without love.
When you’re having a hard time with someone at church – and you’re contemplating a “shirt of rage” or “sweater of patience,” remember this: “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died (2 Corinthians 5:14, NIV).”
Because of God’s love for us, we should never run out of things to wear…