“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 one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. 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
The foundation for future harmonious relationships is a past marked by forgiveness and a present that displays forbearance (or self-control). Forgiveness brings restoration to relationships hurt and broken by sin. Forbearance promotes unity despite differences in personalities and idiosyncrasies.
Forgiving and forbearing one another are deliberate choices we are to make in relationship with each other. We are told to “put on” the spiritual qualities that result in these actions. The six characteristics listed in today’s verses — compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love — are all true of Jesus. He modeled them so that we might follow His perfect example.
In Colossians 3:8-9, note the qualities often found in relationships where Jesus is not present. The characteristics on that list: anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language and lying. Christians must “rid [them]selves of all such things” and replace them with attitudes and actions on display in the life of Jesus. As we reflect on His forgiveness and forbearance toward us, we learn from Him how to treat others the same way.
How can you adjust your lifestyle and preferences to live in a way that is not only bearing with others, but forgiving them for any and every grievance they may have caused you?
— Jeff Totten, Detroit Tigers chaplain
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