12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
1. Being God’s chosen people resonates a lot more with 1st Century Jews than it does with me. God first chose the nation of Israel in order to carry out His will on Earth. They were the vehicle by which God would make His plans happen. They knew that all people should see God and His glory when they looked at His people. I need to have this as context for my spiritual walk. I am a citizen of God’s chosen people. My life should reflect the fact that He is my leader and my beloved father. My life should reflect His values and His ways. I am holy, set apart and qualified to carry out His will on this earth. And I am loved; as a groom loves the approaching bride, so God’s tender affection for me needs to foster a tender expression towards those around me.
2. When I read “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”, I get the sense that this is how I would treat a lost little girl that I found, frightened and alone. I would do everything I could to comfort her and not frighten her. God must see us that way… as lost little children, feeling around in the dark for comfort and safety. We don’t need to scold or punish those around us. And, we certainly don’t need to bolster our pride by pointing out others’ errors, after all, we are “holy and dearly loved” already (v 12). We can see others as “in progress” and be a source of gentle encouragement and hope in the progress of their journey. This way we can preserve the relationship, even if our message is not accepted. And that’s unity!
3. Forgiveness is the ultimate in gentleness. I will give up any demand that you repay me for what your actions cost me. After all, I know that my Father will fully provide for me. I will trust Him to provide what I need.
4. It is hard to love, to work for the good of someone who has hurt us. But, if God will truly provide all I need, then I don’t need anything from the person who has hurt me. I can let go of my need for them to compensate me, and I can look for ways to help them grow into what God wants them to be. Now that’s unity!
1. As I think about this passage, I realize that I am not a gentle man. I jump, so quickly, to point out the injustice of someone’s actions… and even more loudly when I am the victim of those actions. Oh, not in a violent way, but in a sarcastic way… in an indomitable way. You won’t get one up on me! I won’t let myself be hurt.
2. I need to find the self-restraint to withhold my judgement (or at least the verbal expression of it) until I can let the Holy Spirit inhabit my attitudes. I need to let the Holy Spirit change my eyes to see people as “in progress” and as possibly God’s next great miracle, before I act on my attitudes. And I need to express my faith that I am loved by God and that I don’t have to get anything from the other person in order to be OK. By faith I can accept that my cup is full, and then I can relax and be willing to share kindness and forgiveness to the other.
3. I need to be constantly sharpening my tools for helping others grow into what God wants them to be. I need to be constantly on the lookout for opportunities to encourage and empower others to live under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I need to pray for those opportunities, and rejoice when I recognize that God has given me an opportunity to help someone grow. That is what it means to be holy… it means to be set aside to carry out God’s will on this earth.
Father, You are loving and kind, having forgiven me so much. You do provide all that I need. Teach me to see others as fellow lost children, on the journey into Your presence. Change my heart attitude so that I am looking for ways to build others up, and not for ways that they should be treating me. Help me to set aside my selfishness so that your Son’s gentleness comes across to those around me.
Posted on Fri, February 26, 2016
by joel king