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.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17
In yesterday’s devotional, we disrobed. Today, we get a look at our new wardrobe: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and love. Why? Husbands are not the guy from The Notebook. Wives are not porn stars. It’s much easier to fantasize than to live in reality. But, you can’t have a relationship with a picture or words on a page. Your twitter friends only need 140 characters or less. Your real world friends need more than that.
People offend us. They sin against us. They can be selfish and thoughtless. They can be downright mean. Bless our hearts, so can we.
Since the old self operated in the world of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (Matthew 5:38-39), it’s a good thing we have put on the new self. Or else, there would be a lot of blind, toothless folks walking around.
The antidote for relational dysfunction is what Christ promises to us in the new self. We have put off the old self that wants to get even. We put off the old self that wants to hold a grudge. We put off the old self that wants them to hurt as much as they hurt us.
By putting on the new self, we choose to do some unnatural things. We try to understand others rather than just driving our point home. We offer others the same compassion that we offer ourselves. “They just hurt me. Well, I mess up. I hurt people.” We offer a gentle answer and turn away wrath (Proverbs 15:1).
The big question is “How?” The answer is not with our own strength. We’re just not good enough or strong enough to accomplish all of that. But, remember, the power that raised Christ from the dead lives within all believers (Romans 8:9-11). As we learn to depend on Christ’s power, He will do this work in us. We must be willing to allow Him to work and hold back from our typical reactions. Just to pause and ask Christ to help can bring about needed change.
From the list in this verse: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and love, which do you need the most right now? Don’t say all of the above. Choose one and ask God to begin to do that work in you. It won’t be immediate, but over time you and those around you will notice a difference. Don’t be surprised if you end up in a situation that provokes the exact opposite of the quality you desire. You’re going to school. Learn the lessons well. Try to skip the remedial course.
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