Tender Mercies

As a Christian, you are to put off the sins of the flesh and put on righteous attributes.  Colossians 3:12-13 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”   The apostle Paul is instructing you to put on these characteristics and actions.

The first is tender mercies.  Other translations use words such as compassion.  When you see the distress or need of another, you should be moved within your spirit with a desire to help and alleviate their suffering.  In Luke 10:30-35, Jesus tells the story of the man who fell among thieves who stripped him, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  A priest and Levite passed by and did not have compassion.  But a Samaritan saw the man in his desperate condition and had compassion on him and helped him.  What would you have done in a similar situation?  Would you have passed by and not wanted to get involved?  Or would you have had compassion?

The next attribute Paul admonishes you to have is kindness.  This is similar to compassion.  A kind person is one who has a gentle nature and a desire to help others.  It is this combination of gentleness and a desire to help that makes us want to be around a kind person.  Such a person is easy to approach with any problem.  Would you be described by others as being kind?

The next attribute is humility.  That is when you don’t think you are better than other people.  You don’t brag about your accomplishments or your abilities or your possessions or your righteousness.  You consider others more important than yourself.  Philippians 2:3 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”  Are you humble?

The next attribute is meekness.  That is when you show a quiet and gentle nature, not wanting to fight or argue with others.  Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”  Are you quiet and gentle in nature?  Do you seek to avoid fights and arguments?  Do you accept what God has allowed to happen in your life without being discontent or angry with God?  Are you meek?

The next attribute is longsuffering.  This is when you are very patient during difficult times.  God is longsuffering with mankind.  2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”  Are you patient in difficult times?  Are you patient with difficult people in your life?  Are you longsuffering?

The last attribute is that we should bear with one another, and forgive one another.  It is easy to get along with someone who always agrees with you, never does anything offensive, and is perfect in their actions and words.  In reality, that doesn’t describe any one of us.  We are imperfect human beings.  Even as Christians, we don’t always see things the same way and agree on everything; we sometimes cause offenses through our words and actions.  We are admonished here to bear with one another and forgive one another.  Bearing with one another implies that in spite of our imperfections and offenses, we continue to work together and fellowship together in a loving relationship.  Paul concludes his admonition by saying “If anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”  Are you bearing with your fellow Christian and forgiving them as Christ forgave you?

The apostle Peter gave a similar admonition to the one given by the apostle Paul.  1 Peter 3:8-9 “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”

My encouragement to you is to put on the attributes of tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, and longsuffering; bearing and forgiving one another.

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