Colossians 2:20-3:17; Ezekiel 29-30; Isaiah 55
I have a friend, R. R. Virdi, who’s an author. He’s written some great books. Unfortunately, writing great books doesn’t always earn enough to make a living, so he’s looking for ways to make more income. Recently he got an invitation to apply for a job as a fashion writer. As he described the situation to his fans, “I’m the guy currently sitting in batman pajamas while wearing a turquoise tank top with a picture of a white cartoon seal flexing, holding up a sign that reads, ‘Seal of approval.’ Yep. They want this guy, hooks thumbs to chest, to write about NY fashion. Hold on, folks, I’m bringing sexy back.” If the NY fashion scene takes a turn to the ultra-comfortable, just know that you heard about it here, first. OK, second.
We worry a lot about what we wear. Maybe not when we’re at home, but when we’re out in public, we usually are very conscious about what we wear. We don’t want to be overdressed – suits and evening gowns are not really appropriate to wear to a sporting event for instance. We definitely don’t want to be underdressed. Batman pajamas and turquoise tank tops would not look good at a banquet, for instance. When Paul talked about who we are as Christians, he reminded us that we have our own fashion sense. Our clothes, though, are not the physical fabric of the fashion mags, they are the spiritual qualities that show us to be one with God. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 2:12-13 NIV)
Paul begins by reminding us what it means to be God’s chosen people: we are holy, and we’re dearly loved. Holiness doesn’t mean perfection, it means that we’re set apart for God. We won’t be perfect while we live on this earth, but the following steps will help us grow towards holiness. God loves us with an amazing love in spite of our imperfections, though. Our response, then, should be to duplicate that love for others. We do that by the “clothes” we wear. We put on our compassion as we deal with other people. Note: compassion is not judgmental. We like judging others because it makes us seem better when we can point out the sins of others when they aren’t the same as ours. Compassion doesn’t judge, compassion lifts people. We are called to put on kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience as well. Those qualities aren’t easy to wear. For instance, when you recognize your own humility, you’ve lost it. And while I’ve become more patient than I have been in the past, were I to be graded on my clothing, I would fail miserably at patience.
That final part is hard too: bear with and forgive each other. Sometimes, asking people to bear with me (like the last couple of days) is asking too much. Sometimes, those who have sinned against us have committed unspeakable sins. They seem impossible to forgive. Even worse, sometimes you get the courage to forgive someone and they turn it back on you by snarling and telling you that they’ve done nothing wrong. You may not even be able to face someone to tell them about your forgiveness because what they did was so unspeakably wrong. In the long run, though, forgiveness helps us far more than it helps the person we forgive. When Paul told us to wear forgiveness, I believe he was more concerned for us than he was for the person needing forgiveness. People look at our “clothes” and we may be the reason they decide to investigate what it means to follow Christ, or we may be the reason they turn away from God altogether. Let’s show that “Christian fashion” to all people.
Lord, may I always show your love, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness to all.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.