“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 (NLT)
It was one of the beautiful evenings that I remembered from our marriage counselling sessions. The wife telephoned and just said she needed to talk because she has reached the end of the road there is no point talking her out of divorce. It was a long day at work and we were tired, but when someone needs your support, you must give, so we asked them to come over. They arrived about 8:00pm and as they walked through the door I felt the tension, and they made the hatred for one another very tangible, you can almost touch it. For almost 2 hours there was not a positive word to say about each other. I thought we will be done, max 2 hours, but close to midnight with no progress achieved, we decided to take a break and have tea, hot chocolate, coffee.
As we were about to resume, my wife just said, “before we continue, can you guys just give each other a hug”. Hug each other? Are you kidding? must be their thoughts. I believe out of respect, reluctantly, they carefully approached one another and started hugging like there is an object between them where there was no barrier. So, my wife started giving guidelines and instructions, move closer, put your arms round her back not on the shoulders, etc. Gradually, they embraced each other and broke down in tears. That embrace, sent a message loudly to their hearts about what that relationship meant to them. They came to a place where humility, understanding, compassion, empathy, forgiveness and love took over.
The scripture says, “as God’s chosen people…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness humility, gentleness and patience” when we picture what Paul was saying here, “clothe yourselves”, this encourages us to carefully consider our attitude, conducts as we carefully consider what we wear every day. Our spiritual growth and loving relationships do not happen in isolation. As we practice compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, love helps to bring it all together and help us grow accepting one another, not thinking of others as different from us but recognised their positive attributes and thank God for the positive attributes they have.
Fifteen years on, the couple faced challenges, in several areas, they may not like the circumstances around them, but they “put on love” and appreciate each other and allowed the peace of God to rule their lives. They have grown spiritually and love God. God is pleased when we spend that much effort and time on how we show Jesus Christ with our spiritual garments. When we clothe ourselves with Compassion, Kindness, Humility, Gentleness, and Patience we are showing that we model ourselves after Jesus Christ.