Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
—Colossians 3:12-15 (NLT)
Oops! Make allowances for each other’s faults? Forgive anyone who offends us? This passage steps on our toes. If we are truthful, making allowances and forgiving someone who hurts us is not easy. But it is what the Word tells us to do, and it is for our benefit. Jesus forgave, so we also forgive.
God chose us to be His own—to love others as He loved us. Jesus gave us the precious gift of His righteousness. And with His righteousness comes His tender mercy to forgive—His kindness to share—His humility to live—His gentleness to comfort and encourage—His patience to love. Above everything else, we need to clothe ourselves in His love. "Most important of all," Peter wrote, "continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8, NLT).
If I repeatedly point out another person’s fault, I’m judging and setting myself up to be judged. Making allowances for someone’s else fault is not agreeing with the wrong thing they do. It is admitting that I, too, am not perfect and that I can fail. The unconditional love of Jesus sets me free to love without fault-finding—to forgive without offense. Jesus loved me to the Cross and then gave His life for my sin. If I choose, I have that same grace within me to forgive.
The forgiving love of Jesus has the power to bind us together in impeccable harmony—but only if exercised and allowed to mold character. Harmony or unity is not each one singing the same note or having the same idea. It is a flawless blend of different notes or ideas that, when put together, creates a perfect whole. And no one who is a part of that “perfect whole” cares for himself more than he cares for someone else. He loves and is full of tender mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Forgiveness is his calling card.
May the peace of Christ always rule in our hearts! Praise Him! He gives you the power to forgive just as He has forgiven you.