Colossians 3:12–14 (NIV84)
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Put on some clothes! You know when people see you, they see what you are wearing. You can’t hide it. Even if you have a long coat on, they see the long coat. Everyone sees what we have put on (clothed ourselves with). This isn’t a guideline. It is something that we do. Not because we are commanded, but because of who we are. Nobody has to tell you not to try to breathe underwater. We all know it is a really bad idea (without SCUBA). Because we are humans, we need air to breathe. Because we are God’s chosen and set apart people who are super loved, we put on beautiful things. This is how we roll.
Most Christ-followers have no problem intellectually assenting to these verses. Yet, I think some of us have not received the full freedom of holding no grievances. A friend of mine said that even in the church, it is okay not to forgive your X-spouse. I think we have expanded what is “reasonable” to hold against people. Yet, right here in black and white, it says to forgive. The word used is “charidzomai.” One fantastic definition of this word is: to hand someone over into the control of another person, without some reasonable cause—‘to hand over to, to put into the control of someone.’ What a concept! To forgive people is to take them out of your control and give them to, in the Christ-followers case, Jesus. Let God deal with them. You forgive them. Just like God forgave you. Once for all. What? Wait! What did you just say, PT? Forgive them without them doing anything to deserve it? Yep. What did you do to deserve forgiveness? You acceptance the forgiveness that Jesus purchased on the cross. Thousands of years ago. If you will deny yourself and release them to God, then you will be free. Whatever complaints you have. Whatever you don’t like. Whatever offended you. My point is that when you put on all these things listed in the above verses, you forgive! It is hard to have love, compassion, patience, and humility and demand that this person who offended you, be punished somehow. Even if the punishment is you not giving them any or much love.
Consider this; you were born to love. Then you were born again to love. When you love, your brain works better. When you love, your body works better. When you love, you get sick less often. When you love, you feel better about life. When you love, you are like Jesus. When you love, the community you are a part of will reap the benefit of your love. When you love, you cover a multitude of sins, complaints, and unlovely idiosyncracies. That helps you to love all the more.