23 Avoid foolish and thoughtless discussions, since you know that they produce conflicts. 24 God’s slave shouldn’t be argumentative but should be kind toward all people, able to teach, patient, 25 and should correct opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will change their mind and give them a knowledge of the truth. 26 They may come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap that holds them captive to do his will.
12 Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus asked, “If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same?” (Matthew 5:46-47). To be kind to people who are kind to you is just good manners. But to be “kind toward all people”—that can only grow, over time, from opening your heart to the Holy Spirit’s supernatural presence.
Come, Holy Spirit! Grow kindness in me, not as squishy emotionalism trying to please those I like, but as hard-edged, practical determination to live a life that reflects my Lord Jesus’ way of caring about people even as he worked to defeat evil with good. Amen.
* J. R. Daniel Kirk, study note on Colossians 3:12-17 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 386 NT.
I recently read a book called Gentle and Lowly, by Dane Ortlund. It's all about Jesus' deeply compassionate heart as described in Matthew 11:29. In this verse, Jesus says, "Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves." As I read this book (which I highly recommend!!) and took a deeper dive into this verse, the thing that stood out to me most was the fact that Jesus called us to learn from him. He came, He lived, He modeled this life of gentleness and kindness, and then He entrusted the Holy Spirit to us and challenged us to live this way, too. This is the kindness that the letters to Timothy and Colossians described as well.
In my own life, I've recognized the importance of first and foremost treating myself with kindness. My current "business" is college, and it has been so easy for me to fall into the trap of going from one thing to another and not making time for things that really make me feel full. My guess is that this is probably an easy thing to fall into in any stage of life, and unfortunately, it can be a very hard routine to break. However, for the sake of the people in our lives, as well as for the people we have yet to meet, I believe it's so important that we do treat ourselves with kindness. When I'm kind to myself, making time for things and people that I love and that bring me joy, then I have a much greater capacity to be "clothed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (Colossians 3:12).
As Paul points out in Colossians, we are God's chosen ones--holy and beloved (which...WOW!). With this, we are often called to do the hard things, like loving people who we may not normally love, avoiding arguments over things that don't really matter, and showing ourselves kindness even when it doesn't feel we deserve it. Thankfully, Jesus modeled the way, and with the help of Scriptures like today's, we can see what true kindness looks like in action.
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