April 19, 2007

Dress Code

Colossians 3:12-14

Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12


Compassion experiences the brokenness of others as its own. In the parable of the good Samaritan, when a priest and a Levite see a wounded man, "they pass by on the other side," but a Samaritan who comes along is moved with compassion. He draws near and makes the robbed man's problems his own. (See Luke 10:30-37.)

Kindness suggests a generous rather than a critical attitude toward others. It's a love that covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Kindness keeps no record of wrongs, it does not delight in evil (1 Corinthians 13:5-6).

Humility is neither haughtiness nor self-demeaning. It is a deep-struck recognition of our creatureliness. Humility knows its utter dependence on God as well as on others and even on rain and sunshine. We are all debtors, dependents.

Gentleness or meekness is strength controlled by love. In a poem, Sinners Welcome, Mary Karr writes that to un?der?stand the meaning of meek, we must "picture a great stallion at full gallop in a meadow, who--at his master's voice--seizes up to a stunned but instant halt... Only the velvet ears prick forward, awaiting the next order."

Patience is the capacity to endure something or someone difficult or disagreeable without complaining or flying into a rage.

As God's chosen people, this is our dress code.

Dear God, as your beloved people in Christ, enable us each day to clothe ourselves in your likeness. Help us to live faithfully by your way of love. In Jesus' name, Amen.

About the author — Jack Roeda

Rev. Jack Roeda is the senior pastor at Church of the Servant Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and an adjunct professor of preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary. He is married to Carol Sue Kok, and they have three children and two grandchildren. Pastor Roeda has served two previous churches: Exeter (Ont.) Christian Reformed Church and Calvary Christian Reformed Church, Holland, Michigan.

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