Tuesday March 26, 2013

Day 36 – Transformed Relationships

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Colossians 3:12-17 

12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


There is no such thing as the perfect church this side of heaven. We long for it, but we won’t find it. The reality is that churches experience the tensions and sometimes the conflicts that are found in the wider society. Yet church in the New Testament is most important. Jesus said, ‘I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.’ Paul and Peter writing in their Letters had every expectation that church would be a good experience for its members. How then can this happen? Paul gives us some clues in Colossians 3:12-17. He points to attitudes and actions we all need to adopt in our relationships so that we may keep the peace.

Attitudes. Consider the flip-side of the attitudes that Paul tells us to adopt –indifference, pride and impatience. Indifference doesn’t concern itself with others; pride only thinks about self; impatience ignores the realities of life in a fallen world. Here are causes of hostility and even violence in any society – including churches. If we are to experience the peace of Christ in our relationships, we need new attitudes: instead of indifference – compassion and kindness; instead of pride – humility and gentleness; instead of impatience and resentment – patience.

Forgive each other as the Lord has forgiven you. God had every reason to reject us. We flouted his law; we ignored him. However when Jesus died on the cross, God chose to take into himself the pain that we caused. If God has so forgiven us, shouldn’t we be prepared to forgive those who have wronged us?

Church is the one place where love and mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation should be evident. ‘Pray about your attitude towards those who have wronged you’ says Paul.

Practical Action Steps. Keeping the peace doesn’t mean simply sweeping our differences under the carpet. We need to work through them – and an important way we can do this is by coming to the Bible together, and allowing the mind of God to teach and correct us. Furthermore, we are to read the Scriptures with wisdom – there is no place for reading into the Bible what we want it to mean. We need to discover the plain meaning of the Bible together, text in context.

Music. We think of Christian music as being only God-directed. Music can also provide teaching and exhortation. Singing songs that are Bible-centered is a good way to build relationships.

‘Gratitude to God’. A discontented spirit – often an ungrateful spirit – can create tension and division. A thankful heart trusts God in every situation, knowing that the Lord Jesus is in control.  Thankful people are usually joyful and happy people.


  1. In the light of 3:12-14 is there anything in your life that needs to change?
  2. Are you prepared to forgive those who have wronged you? Why? Why not?
  3. What lessons can we learn from Paul’s words about the Bible, music and gratitude to God?

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