There’s a particular quote that I’ve heard when the season turns blustery and cold: “There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.” If you’ve lived in northern territory during a winter season, you know what I’m talking about. Bundle up enough and you can enjoy making a snowman in the coldest of weather. Or, grab an umbrella and poncho and you can beat the rain while running errands. No bad weather, just bad clothing.
While washing my children’s winter jackets and overalls after they enjoyed a recent snowfall, I began to consider what God says about the right kind of clothing.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (Colossians 3:12-13)
As a mother lays out her children’s clothes, God lays out our clothing for holiness. He kindly instructs us how we can peacefully live with others; He gives us an example through His Son Jesus. Because God created us and knows us intimately, He understands the difficulties that can arise in our relationships with one another. So, we can be prepared for peace when we put on tender mercies and kindness toward others. We can endure hardships when we bear with one another and are purposeful to forgive. Again, we have Christ as our example–if He could forgive His abusers and killers, what excuse do we have?
In case we do come up with excuses to withhold love and forgiveness, God also provides us with clothing to purge (think large garbage bags to Goodwill, or, rather, to a bonfire).
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth, fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry…put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another… (Colossians 3:5, 8-9a)
Hoarding these items creates chaos in our hearts and in our relationships. We may say we have the right to be angry at someone because they’ve offended us or hurt someone we love. You may even be absolutely right that there was an offense or hurt. But, just as some might complain about the bad weather because all they really need is the right clothing, we must not blame our situations or other people for our heart responses.
When we are deeply hurt, we must remember Jesus. When we can’t seem to forgive, we must remember Jesus. We must forgive even as Christ forgave us. Ouch. Not only must we face Christ’s forgiveness of His murderers as an example, but we must face the fact that Jesus forgave us.
We can trust God when He lays out these clothes for us to wear. They’re the perfect clothing for even the worst “weather” or circumstances. He gives us His Holy Spirit for power to do all things that pertain to life and godliness. Let’s purpose to get rid of–put to death–the clothing that isn’t fitting for a child of God. We are no longer “sons of disobedience that we once were”(Colossians 3:6-7), so let’s put on love and let the peace of God rule in our hearts because this encourages unity and thankfulness. Praise God for His great power!