Clothe yourselves with compassion…

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Colossians 3:12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 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. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

Personal appearance is a big deal in our culture. From clothing to hair care to makeup to plastic surgery to ________________ people collectively spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year to look their best. It’s true today, but it was true in ancient times as well.

Personal appearance was important. People could look at you and tell a lot about your background, social status, wealth, and so on. Then as now, physical appearance often served to separate people. The poor walked around in rags while the rich wore finely tailored clothing made of rich fabrics. Then as now, clothing was a visible reminder of one’s station in life. The rich and the poor had little to do with one another.

Except in the church.

The church was one place where people from different walks of life enjoyed community together. In our passage for today Paul offers a different way to think about personal appearance “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience”. What a wonderful image!

When we Christians take on the character of Christ, people see us differently. Instead of seeing clothing, they begin to see character: compassion, kindness, humility…etc. These are glorious garments available to all people, rich or poor. I wonder, what do people see when they see me? When they see you? Do they see the character of Christ? Something to ponder today.

Lord Jesus, we are called to be your hands and feet in the world. Give us grace that we might be the faces of your love for all people. Strengthen us to be more concerned with our character than our clothing. We ask this in your holy name. Amen.

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