Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with 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. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:12–17, ESV
Even if you are still going to work or working from home, you and your family are likely spending a great deal more time together of late. This may be a bit challenging. When our routines are taken from us and we are forced to figure out how to deal with that loss together under one roof, our sanctification can be relationally tested.
In Colossians 3:12-17, Paul has a message for this situation. He has told Christians that they need to “put off” the way of life that does not fit their status as alive in Christ and described that objectionable way of life in some detail (3:5-11). Now he tells them what they need to “put on”—a life befitting their status. What they need to put on are loving and peaceful relationships. And these loving and peaceful relationships have six defining features:
Compassionate hearts—weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice as one who shares their sorrow and their joy.
Kindness—simply doing good for the other person, whether they deserve it or not.
Humility—living like a servant regardless of your official status.
Meekness—being gentle and encouraging instead of bullish.
Patience, bearing with one another—why Bible translators quit translating this as long-suffering, I will never understand. Carry the load, even when your loved one is the load!
Forgiveness—Not holding the other one guilty in your eyes, just as God no longer counts you as guilty.
These are six components to a peaceful and loving Christian “stay at home” family. Where they exist, something amazing happens. This family becomes a thankful family who worships around the Word of God and sings truth to one another. The loving and peaceful family becomes a worshipping family!
It seems to me that very few of us have a perfect score by this measure. If your home, like mine, is not quite there yet, let’s make a pact. We will keep striving toward this goal and I will pray for you as you pray for me. Let’s be the church in prayer for all our families.
May God give us Christian homes.