Yesterday we read about the importance of putting to death the sinful habits and behaviours of our old lives, with Christ’s help. Paul wrote specifically about our sexual behaviours, and the way we talk to and behave with each other. Relationships are so important in God’s Kingdom. As we set our minds on Christ, it should affect the way we treat one another too.
In these verses we see the contrast between behaviour that damages relationships, and behaviour that creates loving relationships. Anger towards others, malicious words, lying about others and speaking abusively to and about them are all out. Instead we put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We forgive and, most importantly, we love.
If we’re honest, isn’t that the way we’d all like to be treated by others?
Putting on these new ‘clothes’ might be difficult in the beginning. The first time I gave my toddler a pair of underpants, he put them on his head! Learning to dress himself was tricky. Sometimes he’d put both his legs down the same trouser leg, or put his t-shirts on back-to-front. And did I shout at him when he made these mistakes? Was I angry with him? No! He was only learning and he was doing his best. At least he was trying. And eventually he got the hang of it and learned to dress himself. Now he can do it without even thinking about it.
This is how it is with us and our Heavenly Father. He understands that things are hard for us, that we’re only learning and we sometimes make mistakes. When we get it wrong, we go to him and he knows how to sort it out. And the more we practice compassion or kindness or love, the better we get at it until the day comes when we do it without even thinking about it.
As we go through our day, let’s have it in mind to ‘practise’ these things, to pause before we speak or react, to ‘put off’ damaging talk and ‘put on’ loving, kind, compassionate talk. It takes time for new habits to be formed – let’s start today!