What Are You Wearing?
By: Anne Peterson
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. - Colossians 3:12
We all get up each morning and take a few minutes to decide what we will wear and how we want to present ourselves to the world. And yet, we give less thought to the things God says we should put on. How do I know? Because I make this mistake so often.
No matter where we go, or who we’ll see, God wants us to clothe ourselves as Jesus would.
Put on Gentleness
If someone is acting coarsely with me, I’m tempted to act in the same way. Yet, in
Proverbs 15:1, it tells us a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. It would be easy to justify reacting to someone, except God gives us clear instructions of how we’re to treat our enemies, Luke 6:27-28. God tells us to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, and to pray for those who mistreat us.
I remember one time I tried justifying my harsh response to my spouse. I actually told the Lord, My husband needs to pay for what he said. And God gently reminded me, someone already did. Jesus. Then the Holy Spirit gently reminded me of all the times I had been forgiven though I didn’t deserve it. In Romans 5:8 it says God commended his love toward us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.
When we treat others harshly, we’re not dressed in compassion, kindness, and humility. We’re not being gentle and patient. But instead, we’re wearing pride, acting entitled, and demanding.
Put on Humility
I know when I am wearing humility rather than pride. When I’m proud, I feel like I’m above my spouse. I remember one day when God illustrated this clearly to me.
Driving home, I was listening to a Christian radio station when the speaker asked, “Do you ever get irritated with others? We’re going to discuss this when we return.”
“Good,” I thought. “People do irritate me! I can hardly wait to hear what he has to say.”
“If you are easily irritated,” the speaker continued, “you have a problem with pride.”
That is not what I thought he was going to say, but it was what I needed to hear. The Holy Spirit knew it. The Holy Spirit who always wears compassion.
God’s conviction is gentle. I was so ready for the rest of the message.
Put on Patience
May I confess something to you? I used to be a foot-tapper at the grocery store. Oh, you couldn’t always see my foot tapping as I stood in line, but trust me, it was tapping nonetheless.
God lovingly showed me I was impatient. If my tones were harsh, God showed me I had feelings of entitlement.
Jesus had every right to be demanding, but he wasn’t. He was in the right, but would just keep his mouth shut. That amazed me.
God showed me silence is the right response at times. In James 1:19, we’re told to be quick to hear and slow to speak. That way we can pray for the person we’re responding to. If we feel entitled, the other person is not on our minds, we’re just thinking about getting our own way.
I wasn’t kind tonight. I snapped instead of being gentle. But once again, God pointed it out to me. And later, instead of staying in that frame of mind, dressed in pride, I put on compassion. What we put on makes all the difference in the world and in our homes. We can decide what we’ll wear.
Anne Peterson and her husband, Michael have been married for 43 years. Anne is a poet, speaker, published author of 16 books, including her latest book, Always There:Finding God's Comfort Through Loss. Anne has also written and published another memoir, Broken: A story of abuse, survival, and hope. Sign up for Anne’s newsletter at www.annepeterson.com and receive a free eBook by clicking the tab. Or connect with her on Facebook.
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