…as compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient, as one who forgives grievances, and above all as loving and peaceful, is to live in the way which Jesus calls his followers to live.
It’s the content of the instruction found in Colossians, chapter 3.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothhe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you 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
To live up to that ideal seems impossible, and it would be if it were not for God’s Holy Spirit that dwells within, and makes it possible. Even at that, though, it isn’t an easy task. If the subject happens to be politics, or faith, and there is a difference of opinion involved, it doesn’t seem that these characteristics shine through.
On the other hand, spend a week or so in a church office when the building is located on a busy street between two busy intersections, and you’ll discover that most people needing help of some kind, especially with regard to basic human needs, will find their way to the door, and be bold in asking for it. We must be doing something right, if people know that their most likely source of help in time of need is the church.
We’ve always had difficulty expressing ourselves from a political perspective, in a democracy. Christianity was born, and the New Testament was written for guidance, during a time when human beings had very little freedom and when government was recognized more by its right of conquest and the might of its ability to remain in power than by consensus and permission of the governed. And yet, even in that environment the ideals that Christians were instructed to display, in all aspects of their lifestyle, were the highest ones.
Likewise, within our own churches, and our church organizations, where these virtues should certainly be visible, we seem to have difficulty, and the face that the world sees through our doors and windows is not the face of virtue. I’m guilty of not practicing these virtues myself, especially in my thoughts, and when the topic is one about which I am passionate.
As a community of believers in Christ, we have much in common. Our voice would be more likely to be heard and acknowledged, and what we have to say would be respected and influential, if we were able to speak our mind and still exhibit the compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, peace and love that Jesus expects of us.