By Dan Polecheck
Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. – Colossians 3:12-14
For me, the above Bible passage sums up the Christian way of life. It is the way I try to lead my life.
Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” It is the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering. research has shown that when we feel compassion, our heart rate slows down, we secrete the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, and regions of the brain linked to empathy, caregiving and feelings of pleasure light up, which often results in our wanting to approach and care for other people.
It’s fairly painless to be kind to people we get along with. But when it comes to those who get on our nerves or those who are downright mean, showing kindness typically isn’t our first response. Yet that’s the type of kindness Paul was talking about. It must have seemed pretty illogical to those he was teaching. And it was. Loving an enemy just doesn’t make any sense. Then again, neither does God’s kindness, which was the point Paul was trying to make.
Whether we’re looking at business, church or personal life, it’s clear we live in an era of self-celebration. Fame is equated with success, and being self-referential has become the norm. You need to realize that the only way you have achieved your success is through the help of God. Remember to give Him the glory and not keep it to stroke your ego.
It takes a strong person to be truly gentle. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow gives us a wonderful illustration of gentleness in “The Village Blacksmith.” In the poem, the main character is described thus:
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.
However, in church, as he hears his daughter singing a hymn, the smith is overcome with emotion, “And with his hard, rough hand he wipes / A tear out of his eyes.” This is gentleness. Might restrained. Humility and grace.
Patience is the ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties.
“Patience, that blending of moral courage with physical timidity”. – Thomas Hardy
Forgiveness is the act of compassionately releasing the desire to punish someone or yourself for an offense. Forgiveness does more for you than anyone else because it liberates you from negativity and lets you move forward.
As I stated before, I try to live my life this way, but to be honest, it is sometimes a struggle for me. But with God’s help, I hope to achieve this lifestyle someday.
So are you living a Christian way of life?