Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Know anybody like this? The minute he or she enters the room, all Hades breaks loose. You brace yourself for what comes next. Finally, when the troublemaker departs, you breathe a sigh of relief.
Or how about this? As soon as you see him or her coming, you feel happy, things seem better — like sunshine after a storm.
Which is better? Visitor A or B? That’s a no-brainer. So, which one of those descriptions most applies to you? Are you the sunshine — or the storm?
The Lord doesn’t rule over our hearts like a dictator. He rules with our consent. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,” says Paul. Allow Him to reign in your life and the result will be “peace.” That’s what you were “called to,” which means that God expects you to be His instrument of peace.
He adds, “And be thankful.” I’ve never met a thankful grump or a thankful complainer. Thankful people are peaceful people.
Colossians 3 focuses on Christian behavior. Again, we’re not given an exhaustive list, but there’s plenty for us to work on. “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” (v8)
You must. No wiggle room here. Get rid of it.
Then Paul teaches the better way, basically a reiteration of the fruit of the Spirit he shared in Colossians 5. “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (v12b) Clothe yourselves. God wants His people looking GOOD, dressed up for all occasions.
Let’s face it. There are some folks we don’t feel like dressing up for. They bring out the worst in us. Paul addresses that too. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.” (v13)
Then Paul clarifies the magnitude of forgiveness. “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (13b) Wow. The Lord forgave not just one of my sins, but ALL of them.
When I was a kid, about 11 or 12, I recall an incident involving an uncle who loved to tease me. To him, provoking me was great sport. One day, I retaliated by stomping on his toe. That’s when I learned he suffered from painful bunions. He went into a rage and never talked to me again. Wouldn’t even look at me. That’s my first recollection of being hated, of someone holding a grudge against me. He was never willing to forgive me. I apologized, told him I was sorry for hurting him.
There will be times in your life when you won’t be forgiven by others. You are only responsible for yourself. Make the effort. What they do with it is between them and God. Which brings me to this: peacemakers get stepped on. But don’t stop endeavoring to be an instrument of God’s peace.
For more on this topic, check out this article: A Roadblock Called Unforgiveness
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.