Spiritual Clothing: Compassion

Read: Colossians 3:12-17

Each morning when we awake we head to the closet to figure out what we are going to wear for the day ahead. For some people this can be a short and easy process and for others it can be quite long and drawn out. Other factors like weather, schedule, and activities also factor into that decision.

In this third chapter of Colossians Paul is encouraging us to think about a different type of clothing. One that is more about who we are than what we look like on the outside. He says that “as God’s chosen people” we are to carry ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

This week I would like to write a little about the first one (compassion) and in the weeks ahead I will touch on these other spiritual characteristics that are good and healthy for the Christian to put on each and every day.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “If we could only read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” Truly, compassion is one of the most powerful ways to diffuse so much of the hatred and bitterness in our world.

It’s amazing to look at the life of Jesus and see how this was so true. In the story of the woman who was caught in adultery (John 8) Jesus uses compassion to make those about to stone her think about their own life and their own situation. Is this how they would want to be treated if they were in her fallen state?

Jesus picked her up and sent her off by saying, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” As we interact with people throughout our day we encounter all kinds of attitudes, failures, and missteps. It is often easy to be judgmental and course in our responses, but our Christian life in Christ should remind us to put on compassion and put ourselves in their shoes.

We often don’t know what people are going through when they act in a certain way that may offend us or hurt us. But maybe a compassionate response is just what they need to turn their day around or perhaps it will allow them to open up and share what is weighing on their heart that day.

Paul is basically encouraging us to be like the one we follow in Jesus Christ. Put on compassion as you walk out the door this week and allow it to be your ministry.

Make it personal: Pray each and every morning that Jesus would help you to be a compassionate and caring person that day to the people he puts in your path. They just might see Jesus in your response.

Have a wonderful week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church