“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14)
In these verses, Paul is reminding the Colossians who they are: God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.
Let’s be clear: it had nothing to do with the Colossians or their innate characteristics. He chose them. They were holy and set apart because of Jesus, dearly loved because of God—not because they were lovable or holy in and of themselves. In light of this truth, Paul insists they clothe themselves with The Five Virtues.
However, the difficulty is in the battlefield of the mind—we still think like street urchins, beggars, thieves, prostitutes, and murderers. So Paul is describing to us the picture we should have in our heads about the qualities we should exhibit to look more like our Savior.
(Man, is this not brilliant? I don’t know about you, but this truly helps me understand these characteristics better. Commentaries and dictionaries rock my socks, People!)
The take-away point is this: Our behavior toward one another matters. As a result of our belief in God and what Jesus has done, our behavior needs to reflect that belief. And the reasoning behind WHY we do it is found in the latter part of the verses above:
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”