Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
Oliver Cromwell, known as the “Protector of England,” was a military commander in the seventeenth century. It was common practice during those days for people of importance to have their portraits painted. And it wasn’t unusual for an artist to avoid depicting the less attractive aspects of a person’s face. Cromwell, however, wanted nothing to do with a likeness that would flatter him. He cautioned the artist, “You must paint me just as I am—warts and all—or I won’t pay you.”
Apparently, the artist complied. The finished portrait of Cromwell displays a couple of prominent facial warts that in the present day would surely be filtered or airbrushed before being posted on social media.
The expression “warts and all” has come to mean that people should be accepted just as they are—with all their annoying faults, attitudes, and issues. In some cases, we feel that’s too difficult a task. Yet, when we take a hard inward look, we might find some pretty unattractive aspects of our own character.
We’re grateful that God forgives our “warts.” And in Colossians 3, we’re taught to extend grace to others. The apostle Paul encourages us to be more patient, kind, and compassionate—even to those who aren’t easy to love. He urges us to have a forgiving spirit because of the way God forgives us (vv. 12–13). By His example, we’re taught to love others the way God loves us—warts and all.
What faults do you find in others that are hard to accept or forgive? How can you follow God’s example in the way you interact with others?
Loving God, show me my shortcomings or flaws that detract from letting others know who You are. Help me to be more patient and to love and forgive as You do.
Nearly every epistle in the Bible mentions that we who believe in Jesus were “chosen” or “called” by God. Some people believe that if God does the choosing, we have no role to play. Yet the apostles dedicated their lives to sharing the good news of Jesus with the world. They knew that our privileged position brings a tremendous obligation.
A crucial way we share this good news is by living a different kind of life. In Colossians 3:5–9, Paul wrote about the things we must get rid of: sexual impurity, rage, malice, slander, lying, and the like (Colossians 3:5–9). Now, as God’s “chosen people” (v. 12), we’re to “clothe” ourselves in a completely different lifestyle—one marked by Christlike qualities. When we react to life’s irritations and injustices with the grace and peace of the Spirit of Jesus, the world will see the difference.