Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Patience and Kindness (Colossians 3:12-17)

"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience" (Col. 3:12).

In 2 Corinthians, Paul described his ministry as one that “put no stumbling block in anyone’s path.” He knew that he had to exhibit fruit of the Spirit in all circumstances so that he would bring no criticism to his ministry. As servants of the Lord, he and his fellow workers sought to commend themselves in every way—“in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard works, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness” (2 Cor. 6:4–6). In the midst of difficulty, Paul reflected the character of God in purity, understanding, patience, and kindness.

All Christian virtue flows from the fountain of God’s character. God Himself is characterized by long-suffering, or patience, and kindness. These two graces, given by the Holy Spirit, should mark the Christian life as well. Patience evidences itself in times of trial—it’s the ability to endure pain over a long period of time. It flows from a heart that loves the Lord and others. God loves His people, and because of that love He is patient with them—slow to anger and abounding in love. Patience cultivates love while waiting on others. It does not develop bitterness and resentment. Someone may claim to have much patience with another person, when all the while they are broiling in bitterness. They may not confront someone or reject them outright, but they store up an account of resentment. Patience does not wear the dirty rags of bitterness but is wrapped in the robes of kindness and gentleness.

Kindness grows out of patience. God exhibits kindness by leading the lost to salvation, by bearing patiently with us in our sinfulness. So often, Christians rebel against the Lord, refusing to obey Him, failing to give Him His due. Yet God continues to manifest love and mercy to us even when we turn against Him. He draws us back to Himself and crowns us with love and compassion. We can do no less with one another. The kind person doesn’t hold petty grudges. He doesn’t ignore others and condemn others; rather, he treats them with respect and sincere concern for their well-being. Like Paul, reflect God’s character in your life—in all circumstances commend yourselves in patience and kindness.

Are you holding resentment and bitterness against someone at this time? Does this lack of patience and understanding exhibit itself in unkindness toward that person? Think about this, for it is easy to deceive yourself. If you are bitter, confess it to the Lord and show patience and kindness to that person.