As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.
Throughout this chapter, Paul writes about putting off certain negative traits and putting on Christ, and the things of Christ. Things such as truthfulness, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. These are virtues that we are to “clothe”, or put on. To put on love is to make a conscious, intentional choice to love God and others, and to walk in this love. How are all these virtues connected? They are all manifestations of love. To love is to be compassionate. To love is to be truthful. To love is to be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. One need not think too much about each of the fruits of the spirit, because if one understands love and puts it into practice, the other traits will be there. The core of love is not emotion, but commitment. It’s not a commitment to make the other person immediately happy, but rather to seek for the highest good. Biblical love is not empty talk. It calls for action. Finally, biblical love is the basis for a mature spirituality, deeply rooted and centred in Christ.
God of compassion, hear our prayer and grant us the wisdom to use kindness to eliminate bitterness, bigotry, insensitivity, and all other disorders that are part of our human experience. Form us, guide us, and soften our hearts, Lord, so that we may embrace your kindness, and thus become agents of change for the good of your world. We pray all this in your Son, Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.