Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Wardrobe of Forbearance

Do people ever bug you?

I feel guilty about this, but the truth of the matter is that sometimes I find people exasperating!

It's so easy for me to be hurt by my fellow Believers in a local church who I think seem cliquish or unfriendly, or to become annoyed by a sister in Christ with whom I'm working on a project and she is consistently unclear about what we need. It's no wonder that I see the admonition repeatedly in the New Testament for Christ's followers to bear with one another.

One of my favorite Bible passages with regard to this whole issue is Colossians 3:12-14 (MSG):

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Perhaps I like this passage in The Message paraphrase so much because I like clothes. Whenever I'm planning to go someplace, I take a few moments to consider what outfit that I have in my closet is most appropriate for the event. If I'm at an event and realize that I've totally misjudged the situation and am either over, or under, dressed for the occasion, I feel less than comfortable. I really appreciated it when I was at my oldest son, Devon's, college for the weekend of his graduation because his school clearly spelled out if a particular event was to be casual, informal, or formal (they also even defined what each of these meant for both civilians and service personnel).

I think it's cool that God's Word clues me in on the best clothes for life within the body of Believers. That love is THE all-purpose garment. That God's picked out compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, and discipline for me to put on. He not only tells me how to dress, but he even fills me in on what my deportment should be - even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.

But what really gets me in this passage is when it says: "Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you." I've messed up a LOT in my life and God has never told me - no more, I've had enough, I'm going to just leave you and forsake you for that one! Instead, He has always forgiven me, cleansed me, and the Holy Spirit continues to work in me so I don't have to continue in my sins.

What about you, do you find it easy to be forgiving and over look the offenses of others in the body of Christ? What do you do when you have someone who really "rubs you the wrong way"?


Joyce Lighari said...

I call them sandpaper people. Those are the people that just rub me the wrong way and no matter what continue to irritate me. Yet sandpaper smooths out and refines what it touches. In theory I do well with this, sometimes in practice, not so much.

David said...

Oh yeah - there are some people that I want to knock out in Jesus' mighty name. I wrote about one earlier this week.

But I have learned a lot about forgiving, and about humility. I had to say I was sorry even when I was right because it promoted relationship.

photogr said...

God created us with the ability to easily rationalize, think, conceptualize, and analyze issues.

He also instructed us to love one another as we would Him with all our hearts. He gave us the choice to follow Him or not based on our gifts in the first paragraph.

Although we may weare the garment of a Christian, we have a weak link. Human nature that keeps getting in the way.