“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.” Colossians 3:12-15
Life is not always easy.
Everyday letters come to this website from those of you walking through complex, confusing, and even tragic things that have unexpectedly imposed themselves on lives with little or no warning. If you find yourself arising to a day that is in turmoil, consider getting dressed for your day according to scripture.
Whenever you don’t know what to do, do this one thing first — clothe yourself with compassion, kindness and humility.
Pull on gentleness, patience and forgiveness. Wrap the cloak of love around them all as you go. (Colossians 3:12-15)
Deliberately put these things on just as you deliberately put on your clothes. Ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen and help you.
As you step into the challenges of today clothe yourself first with these characteristics. Be intentional about keeping them in focus. Be specific in asking God’s help to demonstrate them as you walk. It will impact the day of turmoil and help bring God’s peace.
In a day when peace seems impossible this is the first step to having God’s peace rule your heart. Those around you, who share the difficult circumstances, will be steadied by your presence as you dress in the things only God can give in the measure you need today.
Father God, I need Your Spirit to clothe me with a soft heart today. Though things around me may be hard, may I help bring Your presence into the circumstances of today by being dressed with the characteristics Your Holy Spirit can bring to my life. Stir within me a thankful heart and use my presence to help bring Your presence of peace to those around me. I ask this in the strong name of Jesus, Amen.
How do you keep these characteristics of God in focus?
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15
Recently I watched a television show where characters Don and Russ were at an impasse. Don had kept a secret from Russ, which was hurtful. When Russ discovered the wrongdoing, Don came clean, confessed, and asked Russ to forgive him. Russ replied that there was no need for him to forgive, because their relationship was strong like brothers.
While there is something pleasing about shrugging off a friend’s misdeed, it is not good to withhold saying “I forgive you.” Especially when the person who has hurt you asks for forgiveness!
Forgiving the offender helps them heal.
Don may begin to wonder if he and Russ really are good. Such doubt is cancerous to friendship. However, hearing Russ say, “I forgive you for keeping that information from me” would be something Don could hang on to; it would be salve for his heart.
Also, forgiving the offender helps the forgiver heal.
If Russ expresses forgiveness to Don, he has said something audible that Don (and perhaps others) heard him say, and now Russ’s heart needs to line up with it. If he does not forgive, he may begin to harbour bitterness toward Don.
Research indicates that proud people are less likely to say they forgive others. Why? Because pride gets in the way. Forgiving requires humility to let go of the hurt the offender has caused.
No wonder God underlined the importance of forgiving one another. It shows a humble heart.
Dear God, Help me forgive friends and family who have wronged me. Help me forgive them by saying so in person. You have forgiven me of so much; help me imitate your humble, loving forgiveness.
Ask the Spirit to reveal to you any person who needs to hear you say you forgive them. Then do so, trusting that the Spirit of Christ is giving you the ability to do so.