“B E A R with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:13-15)
The virtues of unity begin with love. With love can be forgiveness, unity, peace and then a grateful heart. I don’t have to agree with everyone to love more. But loving through disagreements teaches me how to unify.
Forgiveness is such a vast subject with so many different parts. I believe it is the outright nature of God to forgive, but an intricate process for us. When we announce Jesus as our savior, forgiveness from God is free to us. He forgets, immediately. The hurt and offense disappeared through a life given. Yet, there are so many variables for us. We have to process and rationalize until it hits us. The magnitude of the forgiveness freely given to us.
Peace. How to live in peace with fierce convictions? This is something so hard to explain and so polarizing for believers. I love the way Rick Warren says it.
“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
Learning to be thankful through hardship has been life changing to me. I don’t get the thankfulness immediately, but when I realize my joy is not in my situation, my perspective changes. I remember being told by a very dear friend, “Your joy does not come from your circumstance, “ and thinking, “she just doesn’t understand.” When I realized she was right because she was speaking straight truth to me, I had not only peace, but also unity in that relationship.
I left love for the end. I believe the world began with love and will end with love. The word says love binds. The very definition of, God, is love. The above verse tells us to wear love. The following verses tell us how important love is.
“’The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
Firstly, if I can’t love God, I can’t love others. Secondly, if I can’t love myself, I can’t love others as God has called me to.
I’ll end where I began.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)