Recently I took a survey of my readers as to what were some of the topics they would like to talk about. The top two tied, trials and dealing with people. Many times dealing with people can be a trial within itself. Sometimes it seems that dealing with other Christians is the hardest to get along with.
Paul explains in Colossians 3 the keys to getting along with others. One of the things I like to do is look at different versions of the Bible to help with the verses I’m studying at the time. The Amplified Version really help to understand verse 12-14.
So, as God’s own chosen people, who are holy [set apart, sanctified for His purpose] and well-beloved [by God Himself], put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience [which has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with good temper]; bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive. Beyond all these things put on and wrap yourselves in [unselfish] love, which is the perfect bond of unity [for everything is bound together in agreement when each one seeks the best for others].
As we begin to dig into these verses the first key we find is knowing who we are in Christ. We are chosen, holy, and well-beloved by God. So what does it mean to be chosen by God? The Greek word, eklektós means picked out, chosen by God. Not only did we choose to follow Jesus as our Lord and Savoir, God chose us to be His children. In Ephesians 1:5 talks about our adoption into His family. I have a friend that when she saw a news segment about two sisters that needed to be adopted she called her husband and told him she just saw their daughters on TV. They picked out those girls for all the others that were up for adoption. Now they are a family and the girls know they are loved and wanted. The same with us God picked us out for adoption into His family because He loves us and wants us. By adopting us He has set us apart from this world making us holy.
Then Paul list eight more keys; compassion – showing mercy, kindness – goodness, humility – a modest opinion of one’s self, gentleness – meekness, patience – which has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with good temper, bearing graciously with one another – giving the same grace to others that God gave to us, forgive others – just as we were forgiven, last but the most important unselfish love – putting the other person first. Unity comes when we seek what is best for the other person over what we want.
The first seven of these keys, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing graciously with one another, and forgiveness, cannot be done without being wrapped up in love. Not just any love but the love that is the unselfish love that we can only get from being a child of God. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 we see the first seven keys repeated as a description of love.
Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].
The only way we can get along with other people is by knowing who we are in God and reflecting Him in our lives. That starts with love and all the rest will fall into place.