This is post #3 of a 16-session blog series entitled The Christ Collection: Putting on the Likeness of Jesus. Each and every day, you and I, as Christ followers, can pull out a few of these beauties and slip into something comfortable. Hand-crafted masterpieces made for this world, so when we wear them, we can go out on Christ’s behalf, shining brightly like the Son. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Today’s Lectio Divina: Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3: 12-14 (RSV)
Today’s garment, up for discussion, is Compassion.
And as we enter into this journey of exploring the Eight Holy Garments mentioned by Paul here in his letter to the Colossians, we must realize the importance of the order Paul uses. Compassion is first garment listed because without it, all the other garments Paul mentions will not have the full purpose they are meant to have.
You see, in the New Testament Greek, Paul uses words here that show his passionate attempt to paint a picture of warmth, purpose and resolution. When the RSV says…”put on then, compassion,” in truth, it’s simply not giving us the fullness of the Greek words Paul has used.
So, let me attempt to fill out this phrase a bit more…
Put on, then, compassion.
Be clothed with, sink into the silkiness of this garment we call Tender Mercies. This garment of Compassion is the mother of all emotions, planted so deep inside you that it lives within your gut, your belly, your bowels.
What? Your bowels? Are you kidding?
You see, in Hebrew thought, the bowels were the part of the body that held the deepest emotions. In westernized thought, we’ve moved that type of language over to our hearts, but know that the Greek word for compassion here is trying to get you to go to the deepest portion of your body, your mind, your soul, your heart, your gut, your liver, your lungs, and yes, your very bowels.
That’s why some translations use the phrase, Tenderhearted Mercy, or a Heart of Mercy when trying to describe this Garment of Compassion.
Another important point about this phrase of Put on, then, compassion, is that it conveys a sinking into a softness of heart where there is a true, guttural concern or pity for others and their difficulty or misfortune.
You see, from Paul’s point of view, when you or I are clothed with compassion, it must move us to action, a resolve to relieve a person’s difficulty or misfortune, a deep desire to roll up your sleeves and work toward the resolution of the matter at hand. No clucking of tongues. No judgmental attitude, but simply a deep-hearted compassion for the problem and a vested interest in coming alongside those in trouble and a willingness to do something about it!
The Garment of Compassion waiting for us in the Christ Collection, will be both an emotion of deep caring, and a call to action.
Now to you see why Paul starts with such a powerful word?
My Prayer: Jesus, without a doubt, You were clothed in the Garment of Compassion, because You not only had a deep love and passion for all of us, but out of those Tender Mercies, You also chose to act on our behalf. Holy Spirit, as I slip into the silkiness of this Holy Garment of Compassion, empower me to live it out with boldness. For Your name’s sake and for Your glory. Amen.
A Few Thoughts to Ponder: Have I underestimated the depth and purpose of being compassionate for the cause of Christ? Will I allow the Holy Garment of Compassion to dwell deep within me, stirring me to a caring that goes well beyond human emotion, allowing me, for the cause of Christ, to care deeply for others and be willing to act on their behalf?
So, what are you experiencing as we ponder upon Colossian’s Christ Collection?
We hope you’ll enjoy these 16 blogs that focus on the amazing garments and accessories God has hand-crafted for us so that as we wear them, we can better reflect the nature and likeness of Jesus of Nazareth. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
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