Forgiveness, Compassion, Love

Colossians 3:12-17 (ESV)

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I love this passage. I don’t always live up to it, but I want to do so. I do usually have a hymn playing through my head, possibly partly because I listen to Christian Radio. It helps me to have a positive focus, and meditate on the Scriptures . Having a song in one’s heart helps to bring into focus the kindness, humility, compassion, etc. as noted above.

The sticky one for most of us, is the forgiving one another. This is difficult because we sometimes think the Lord takes too long to get vengeance for us when we are hurt by someone. God will make all things right, but we don’t get to choose how or when. If we are going to live with the Peace of Christ ruling in our hearts, we must forgive as we have been forgiven.

Jesus did not wait until people asked for forgiveness. While He was hanging on the cross, He said, “Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.” So how do I get to that point in my life? I think about my faults, failures, and God’s mercy given to me.

The more I focus on God and His love and forgiveness toward me, the easier it is to forgive others who harm or offend me. I want to live in such a way that people see and experience God’s love and forgiveness in me. I am truly grateful for His mercy. Jesus warned in the parable of the unforgiving servant, that if we don’t forgive, we will not be forgiven.

Don’t put God to the test. Be grateful for His love and forgiveness and extend the same to others, especially the brethren in the church. None of us is yet perfect in our thoughts and behaviors, but we should recognize our faults, and give grace to others. This will go a long way toward reconciliation as the Body of Christ. It will also demonstrate God’s love in a way that will make the Church more attractive to those outside of it.

May the richness of God’s Love be with you today.

by Virgil Stripes

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