Colossians 3:12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
Opportunities come to each of us. Sometimes we choose to ignore them, sometimes we choose to take advantage of them. Many times when opportunities we come, we don’t feel prepared. I know the Holy Spirit wants to prepare us for those opportunities, but unfortunately we don’t always let Him. We will listen to the BIG commandments (don’t kill or steal) but ignore some of the ‘smaller’ ones—especially how to treat one another! But if we want Him to use us, we need to pay attention to them all. Right theology is important of course, but so is learning to cultivate a tender heart. If we want to make the most of our God-given opportunities to represent Him, we need both. Sometimes I think we miss opportunities because we have not allowed the Holy Spirit to prepare us.
Colossians 3:12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. These few verses are quick to read, but difficult to really employ. I am trying to practice clothing myself with tenderhearted mercy and kindness. As I choose to love those around me, I discover God brings me opportunities to love and encourage others. This past week my brother-in-law passed after sixty-three years of marriage. Obviously, it is quite a change for their family — especially my sister. My heart is so sad for them. As I prayed, Lord what can/should I do? How can I help them? At first I was at a loss for what to do. Then my tender heart kicked in and by His grace, I put aside my situation and responsibilities and asked what do they need? Someone to come and be there.
So I asked, can I come? It is a four-hour drive from my house to theirs. But I came. Please do not underestimate the power of showing up. I am so glad I went. Having lost my own husband helped me understand their need. She and her daughter were grateful just to have someone be here. This is where gentleness, kindness and humility are so needed. Practicing these virtues in our everyday life makes it easier during tougher times. When we walk in tender-hearted mercy daily, it softens our hearts to help others in their time of need. Then, I asked her to come home with me for a few days. It gave her daughter a break, and more time for her to be with even more family. We all took the opportunity given to love on her. Yes, it was tiring, but being tired isn’t always a bad thing!
I am not perfect at this by any means, but I am learning to lean on Him even more. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, that love never fails, so when in doubt, I try to discover the most loving thing I can do. I marvel at God’s hand in our lives for this moment. Our situation is unique, as we were not raised together. But God in His mercy brought us together when I was sixteen. Perhaps, He reunited us so many years ago, so I could be a help during this tough time.
I want to encourage all of us to be available for the God opportunities He brings our ways. I believe if we clothe ourselves with HIs righteousness, mercy, gentleness etc, it will prepare us for those opportunities much more easily than if we walk in haughty pride and arrogance, for example. He is waiting to use us. I am grateful I can love on my sister and her family. It is a good thing, In this case, the opportunity came to love on my sister and her family, but as we look around and allow the Lord to tenderize our hearts we find opportunities everywhere.
Father, help us understand the importance of clothing ourselves with your tenderhearted mercies. Help us value what you value, and honor what you honor. I know that as we choose to wear these tenderhearted mercies, it will open opportunities to love and minister to others. This is not a small thing in Your sight.