“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.” – Colossians 3:12-14
Stress dredges up those undesirable emotions just lurking under the surface. Confined close quarters and an abrupt end to our comforting routines has everyone on edge. Fuses are short, and it doesn’t take much to spark an explosion, especially around those we love the most. When we allow our everyday stresses to attach themselves to us, we’re putting on irritability, short-temperedness, impatience, and self-centeredness.
I know what it’s like to be both the giver and receiver of these unintentional stress bombs – it’s not pleasant from either side. Where we feel the most comfortable, we’re the most free – and that stress comes pouring back out on those around us in unwanted and usually unintended ways.
Our mission assignment from God begins right where we are, in the midst of the mess and chaos. He has chosen YOU to be exactly where you are, for exactly this time. He has given us everything we need to live together in His peace, but we have work to do too.
There’s an intentionality about the idea of clothing yourself with or putting on these fruits of the spirit. Socks don’t accidentally jump on your feet, but instead you make a choice and take action to put on socks. In the same way, we have a choice about what character traits we put on. Will you choose compassion over irritability? Humility over self-centeredness? Our choices have the power to give life to those around us.
We also have a choice in how we respond to those around us. We can be understanding and quick to forgive in these trying times, or we can stubbornly hold our ground. Forgiveness is a gift we can freely offer, a gift full of mercy, knowing we need that same forgiveness and have already received God’s full forgiveness through Jesus.
More than anything else, be sure to put on love today. Choose love. In your homes, in your emails, in your texts, in your FaceTimes – actively pursue love. God’s love compels us, and we are able to love out of His abundance.
Love will see us through.
What character traits have you been putting on? What is one step you will take in choosing to put on something you may be lacking? Who needs your forgiveness extended to them? How will you choose love today?