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, and let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.
As I was thinking about Valentines Day this week with all of it’s chocolates, roses and love, is it just me, or do you find that the world, in all of it’s tolerance, is less sweet, less loving…less tolerant? The man who wrote these words, was himself, in chains in a prison. He is imploring a church in Colosse to forgive and make allowances for other’s faults and offenses. He is showing, with word pictures, how to walk in love toward a fellow human being. I think if he was able to do this, we must have something we can glean from it.
These words are every bit as important today as they were in Rome, back in 60 AD. This is easier said, than done, don’t you agree? Every day I have opportunities to forgive and not be offended, but because living Christ is my core value, I find ways to lean into the pain and align myself with the truth that Paul wrote here.
I have found Brene’ Brown’s books to be so helpful and practical in areas of vulnerability and relationship. We all, ultimately, want to be understood and want to keep communication going- it’s loving, it’s kind. In Dare To Lead, Brown write’s about recognizing when you are emotionally hooked by something. You know, the times where you feel like you are coming out of your skin, the times you cannot get the conversation to quit playing in your mind, the times when you are hurt, angry, confused, pissed, scared, etc, and times when you even feel sick or have other physical manifestations.
She states in her research that: knowing when you are emotionally hooked and then getting curious about it is the important first step. The getting curious piece is about asking yourself questions concerning the irritation. What is underneath my response? What am I really feeling? What part did I play?
She uses tools like, slow, metered breathing and writing in the process to slow the winds and calm the seas. I have been a long time journal- er and I have learned the value of deep breathing in vocal lessons and singing, but combining these two things in times of emotional confusion have been empowering to me.
When I combine these practical tools with wanting to do the best I can as a human, I find I am drawn to the image of clothing myself in love and tender hearted mercy. I believe we must have necessary, difficult discussions, but leaning into the pain and doing it right not only strengthens us, it sets others up for success in the process.
We are often so rushed, we do not take time to consider how we can clothe ourselves with gentleness and love. Just as you take time to pick out your clothes for the day and look at yourself with them on, ask yourself what being clothed in tender hearted mercy and love would look like on you and how you can wear them today. Maybe it is simply smiling and being cheerful. Maybe it is thanking the person who makes your coffee. Maybe it is telling your co worker when they do a good job. Maybe it is telling your spouse thank you for the little things they do everyday. Maybe it is taking care of something that someone else forgot to do and not telling them about it. Maybe it is buying groceries for a single mom working her tail off trying to make ends meet. What ever the situation, love covers and has an extraordinary, self- less aroma!
I am right here walking this road of wholeness with you and I would love to hear from you today<3