Wednesday, April 12, 2017

We don't need any more words defined.

kindnesskindnesskindnesskindnesschrestotes: kindness, goodness

kindness: quality of being kind; kind treatment; a kind act
kind: friendly, doing good; gentle

Reformation Study Bible: Readiness to do good, even when it may be undeserved (Rom. 2:4; Titus 3:4).

Colossians 3:12 
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Suddenly I think I am overthinking this verse. I think I am making something harder than it need be. That I am putting on the title of learning, when all of these things listed in Colossians 3:12 are doing. In order to be these things you must do them. Plain and simple.

Do we really need to read the definition of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience? Does it matter if we dig deep here? Will we not still find the same thing? Will the definitions really surprise us? I bet we know what they are when others both show and don't show them to us. Or to those we love.

We know when we are patient with our children, humble with our coworkers, gentle with an older person or scared child, kind to the stranger in the grocery store, and show compassion to the world.

Maybe the conflict comes because we will all show these things differently. And sometimes we forget that we should show them differently. And then we define the word by our actions, thinking everyone should do it the same way we do. We think things would be simpler and make more sense that way, but in reality we would be missing out on so many things. So many.

We also have the struggle of competing people. Two people need you at the same time, and you have to make the call. Who gets your attention? Who receives what they are asking from you? Not that one is undeserving, but someone needs you more, or you are more connected with one, or you are suddenly made aware of a need in a loved one. And choices are made.

Or maybe you have been gentle, and shown patience with someone who keeps taking advantage of your kindness and compassion. How long do you bear the weight of being taken advantage of? When does kindness look like you saying, "no more." When does compassion look like teaching someone to stand on their own rather than leaning on you? When does gentleness look down the road rather than simply feel the emotions of the moment? Wouldn't wanting them to be their best be kind, even if it means doing less and letting them do more?

Because compassion, gentleness, kindness, humility, and patience doesn't always feel good. Love is sometimes hard and makes you want to throw up.

These are things we should always do; but not always feel. Our feelings will lie to us at times. And it's learning HOW to live these things out that we struggle with. Not the definitions. Not the original word meanings. But taking the steps. That's the hard part.

And that's the part that can't be defined because just like we are all going to show it differently, each situation calls for it to be shown differently as well. I think this opens the door for us to live freely with the guidance of God. I just think it's time we I acknowledged that sometimes living this way is hard, but necessary.

So, yes, clothe yourselves with love. Let that filter everything you do. You, who know you are chosen by God, treat others as they are chosen as well. Let God guide you in your compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be true to Him, for He will not lead you astray. But don't mistake your feelings for the action He is calling you to. He will call you to hard choices, but lean into Him for He will give you the strength to do it. And guard your heart to make sure all you do is done with love and for Him.

And maybe it is time to stop diagramming and defining scripture and start living it more thoroughly.

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