Sunday, March 22, 2009

Colossians 3:12-14 in Two Translations

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 whatever grievances you may 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.

(The Message)
So, chosen by God for this new life of Love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear Love. It is your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

This is where I've been for the last two months or so. I've read and re-read lots of other 'Love' passages, but I keep coming back to this. I love both translations, but I especially like "regardless of what else you put on, wear Love. It is your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it." Wear Love. If only I could get that to go from the amazing idea I believe it to be, into me actually doing it with more people than my loved ones. I mean, certainly I love my family and I think I do a pretty good job of making sure they know it. However, it's the other people I struggle with. And I'm not just talking about people who cut me off in traffic or are rude at the grocery store. I'm talking about my friends/acquaintances who live outside of the bubble the Church. How do I show those people love without sounding cliche' or like I'm just repeating things I've learned in church. These are the people I live my life with. These are the people who I need in my life, just as much (if not more) as they need me. These are the people in the conversation of my days. They know I'm a Christian and they talk to me anyway. I know they aren't and I have a difficult time imagining my life without them. These are the people who I have to figure out how to be God's love to them, despite the fact that they really don't want it or don't even believe it exists. And this isn't about 'converting' people or trying to convince them to agree with my beliefs. It's just about showing people that God's love is different than ours. This is what I wrestle with.
And here is where I am with it:

You say
to love extravagantly,
but I am awkward and human.
I am broken and quick to judge.
I am not you.
Yet you reached down and took hold of me.
Empty me of the mess of humanity
and fill me
with your love
to overflowing.

(References to 1 Corinthians 13:13 in The Message and to Psalm 18:16 NIV)

More on this to come, I'm sure....

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