Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12
Amanda works as a visiting nurse who rotates among several nursing homes—often bringing her eleven-year-old daughter Ruby to work. For something to do, Ruby began asking residents, “If you could have any three things, what would you want?” and recording their answers in her notebook. Surprisingly, many of their wishes were for little things—Vienna sausages, chocolate pie, cheese, avocados. So Ruby set up a GoFundMe to help her provide for their simple wishes. And when she delivers the goodies, she doles out hugs. She says, “It lifts you. It really does.”
When we show compassion and kindness like Ruby’s, we reflect our God who “is gracious and compassionate . . . and rich in love” (Psalm 145:8). That’s why the apostle Paul urged us, as God’s people, to “clothe [our]selves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). Because God has shown great compassion to us, we naturally long to share His compassion with others. And as we do so intentionally, we “clothe” ourselves in it.
Paul goes on to tell us: “over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (v. 14). And he reminds us that we are to “do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (v. 17), remembering that all good things come from God. When we’re kind to others, our spirits are lifted.
When have you been the benefactor of someone’s kindness? How can you show kindness to another?
Jesus, thank You for showing me overflowing, unlimited kindness. Help me to find joy in doing kind acts for others.
In Colossians 3, Paul reminded his readers of their status as a people chosen by God (v. 12). Because we’re chosen, we have certain obligations that are relational in nature. Since we have a reconciled relationship to God, to whom we were once enemies (1:21), we’re to be in healthy relationship to each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, Paul instructed us to put on the virtues listed as we would put on literal garments (3:12–14). The characteristics he shared are critical to establishing and maintaining healthy relationships. Our restored relationship to God should lead us to extend compassion, kindness, and patience to our fellow believers. This, however, means that we’ll necessarily need to “bear with each other” when conflicts and misunderstandings arise (v. 13). We can’t put on these virtues without love, “which binds them all together in perfect unity” (v. 14).