Intro: Some relationships are challenging in life, because our wills can be very strong, as well as our determination to defend ourselves [or our loved ones] against those who see things differently. As Christians, we need to remember every relationship we make should be built upon God’s love, good listening skills, and a proper mindset of trying to understand one another. Honestly, we all come to a listening time in our relationships with built-in judgments; positive or negative.
For example, say someone once hurt or rejected us, so since that time we listen from that place of pain in the past to interpret what is being said in the present. We may not be listening for good things or kind words to be said at all, because we are standing on our emotions about what happened in the past rather than standing on Christ and the forgiving love of God. We struggle to let the negative judgments go in order to love as Christ. However, Paul reminds us, “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Cor 13:7). So, will we love others the way Jesus loves us?
In our passage from Colossians, today, the Apostle Paul gives some advice to those who desire to live as genuine Christians: 1) we must imitate Christ’s compassion and forgiveness in our relationships; 2) we welcome Christ’s love to be the compass that guides our lives; 3) we allow the shalom [peace] of Christ to rule in our hearts; 4) we live with a spirit of thanksgiving for the salvation of Christ; 5) we apply the Word to our lives; and 6) we desire to do all things—in thought, word, or deed—in a way that glorifies Christ. As Christians, we celebrate the resurrected Christ, because we have been raised with Him to new life—a life that is filled with holy attitudes, holy forgiveness, and holy love.
Colossians 3:12-17 VOICE
12 Since you are all set apart by God, made holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a holy way of life: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kind. 14 But above all these, put on love! Love is the perfect tie to bind these together. 15 Let your hearts fall under the rule of the Anointed’s peace (the peace you were called to as one body), and be thankful.
16 Let the word of the Anointed One richly inhabit your lives. With all wisdom teach, counsel, and instruct one another. Sing the psalms, compose hymns and songs inspired by the Spirit, and keep on singing—sing to God from hearts full and spilling over with thankfulness. 17 Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing, or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father.
Prayer: Lord, please continue to lead us into a holy new life. Help us to be full of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You have forgiven us for so many offenses; please help us to be quick to forgive as a way that imitates you. Groom us in great listening skills; we welcome you into all of our relationships. We know all these amazing attributes found in your Word reflect your character and are bound together in your love. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.