When I was a little girl I joined the Brownies. I loved being a Brownie! I loved earning the badges, being part of a club, being with my friends – I loved it all! Well, not quite all! One thing I didn’t love was the uniform of a mud-colored polyester brown dress with a yellow tie that we had to wear. Even at the young age of six or seven I knew that was not pretty!
I can distinctly remember not liking my brown Brownie uniform, but ,even as a child, I knew that it wasn’t up for discussion. As much as I would probably have rather worn other colours, wearing brown polyester was part and parcel of being a Brownie!
Now, all grown up, I want to follow the Lord and be in His ‘club’, but when I read today’s verses I’m reminded that there are certain requirements that He expects of us that aren’t negotiable – they’re just part and parcel of the package, and I might not always like it, or think it’s fair! Today’s Scripture is one of those non-negotiables.
We can read today’s Scripture on a ‘nice’ day and pat ourselves on the back at how pretty darn nice we are! We don’t struggle with today’s verse when we’re surrounded by easy like-minded people, and we’re having a good time.
What happens though, when we’re suddenly around people who just aren’t as easy for us to love? Those people who seem gifted at winding us up and pressing our buttons? It’s not easy to make allowances for the GIGANTIC faults we see in other people, and forgive the people who’ve offended us… yet again! Or maybe I’m the only person on this planet who struggles with this. There are moments when I would like to skip over Scriptures about ‘loving enemies’ and ‘looking at the plank in my own eye’, and sit instead in my own self justification and offence.
Thankfully, Paul reminds people like me that there’s a solution – a higher way than our own human choices may naturally lean towards! In the Scripture today Paul isn’t telling us to muster up all the niceness we can find inside, and encouraging us to fake being sweet and loving. Instead he’s reminding us that we can choose what to clothe ourselves in. We can wear what suits our human nature, or wear what comes from the heart of God. As we draw close to the Lord, admitting our short-comings and lack, He can indeed clothe us with all the love, tenderness, kindness, patience, grace and humility that we need.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I long to walk Your walk and to follow Your commands - it is my heart to do so and yet there are days, Lord, that I really struggle to love the people around me in the way that You require and desire. I have a limited resource of kindness, grace and forgiveness and I’m painfully aware of its lack. Yet You, Lord, hold all that I need and more, and so today I chose to draw from Your resources – to clothe myself in Your love and the fruits that come from Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name Amen.