At the September Council meeting I read from Colossians 3:12-17. In this passage, the Apostle Paul shares several admonitions to the church at Colossae that are so applicable to the church today that I was compelled to share these words with the FPCC family. If you are having difficulty forgiving others, I hope the words of this passage will speak to your heart.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all this put-on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Col.3:12-17
Notice first who is being addressed by the Apostle: “Gods’ chosen ones.” He is admonishing God’s people, believers, concerning who they are in Christ, and what they do in Christ. The Christian is to put on, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience and forbearance. The Christian here is commanded also to forgive, why, because Christ has forgiven us, Paul writes that we “must forgive.”
The passage never says that this is easy. The passage doesn’t speak of the difficulty, it simply addresses God’s people, reminding them who they are to be in Christ, and what they should do if they are angry with someone.
Paul then changes direction slightly in the remainder of the passage he encourages us to, “let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.” Notice that this appears to be a choice. Christians can choose to “put on” all those characteristics of this passage, and we can also choose to submit to the “peace of Christ.”
The last admonition deals with a thankful spirit or attitude, “and be thankful.” Let Christ “dwell in you,”
“teach and admonish, sing psalms and hymns, and everything we do, do it “in the name of Christ.”
If we are in Christ, our direction is clear. We will desire to live in Christ and all that we do will conform more and more to his image. We will want to be compassionate, we will want to be forgiving, since Christ has forgiven us so much.