“bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint again anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond on unity.”
So far in Colossians 3, Paul has told us what clothing to take off: anger, slander, abusive speech, etc. He has also reminded us to put some things on: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. These are good every-day wear. In verses 13 & 14 he tells us what to wear in church… Sunday Go to Meeting Clothes.
The word “bearing” (v.12) means to put up with minor irritations and the quirks of others. This is a thick lined coat. Whatever is able to get through this coat, must past through an inner lining called: forgiveness. Paul says we need to forgive each other. The person that has a complaint or grievance as well as the one who has committed the sin. This is a tough one. If I get 20 encouraging emails and one that has a complaint, guess which one I spend all week fretting about?
Finally, Paul says: Put on love. It is the one virtue that binds all the others together. Suppose you have a child that has a bothersome quirk… they laugh too loud or are a little selfish at times. Do you have any trouble “bearing” with them or “forgiving” them? Probably not. Why? Because you love them! This is a level about tolerance or moral superiority… this is acceptance… acceptance of the other members of our family in Christ… just as Jesus has accepted us.
How many of us dress up nice all week… showing compassion to the needy, displaying humility in the break room at work, and gentleness to the kids on your son or daughter’s soccer team… only to show up with church with a “take no prisoners” attitude. Forgiven people must forgive. Loved people must love!
Time to dress up on Sunday and everyday with our finest virtues… virtues we’ve seen displayed in Christ!