** Put on therefore, ….long-suffering…** Colossians 3:12
I am constantly amazed at what we can learn when we dig into God’s Word and really look for understanding. This one verse in Colossians has given me a much better understanding of the Spirit of Christ and our responsibility to reflect His Spirit.
Long-suffering can be defined as being patient, but also as being slow to anger, slow to react, not easily provoked. It gives the idea of not allowing ourselves to react in the moment, but to take some time to pray, think, consider where the problem is coming from. It gives us the time to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. Maybe they have recently faced a great loss. Maybe they have some serious financial pressures or a chronic debilitating illness that makes it challenging to be positive and encouraging to themselves and to others.
Jesus was well practiced in showing long-suffering when He was on the earth. Remember the story of the woman trapped in adultery? The culprits brought her to Jesus and He took his time in answering. He stooped down, wrote on the ground, and in my mind, He was going over OT scripture, looking for a thread of clarity to know how to answer the accusing, judging men. I imagine that He was thinking of what the OT law said about adultery. And that He was asking himself, ‘where is the man’? If we are going to stone the woman, then we have to stone the man too. Hmmm…something is off. ….He then gave himself a few minutes to continue to think and pray and then dealt with everyone involved in a just and calm way.
Maybe Jesus was thinking that if He overreacted or if He judged this woman unfairly, it was going to leave an impression that He didn’t want to give. The NT tells us that Jesus didn’t come to judge and condemn but to seek and to save…..
Jesus could have been harsh with all of the people there that day. But He CHOSE to be long-suffering. He chose to not react or judge without understanding more about what was going on. He chose to remember why He was there on the earth. He chose to remember who He was and Who He represented.
He was patient. Slow to anger. Not easily provoked. He was long-suffering. He knew that He didn’t have the whole story. So, he dealt with what He could. The people’s sin. He dealt with it calmly. With wisdom. With prayer, asking the Father to guide His Words and thoughts.
Long-suffering…the accumulation to showing mercy, kindness, gentleness, humility, meekness…..The things that Jesus put on everyday. The things that we need to put on as well. Each one would be a great addition to our spiritual wardrobe.