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Loving Christ's people

25th March 2016

This Good Friday, my thoughts turn to the church, holy and beloved, but so very flawed. As Peter tells us, "Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God" (1 Peter 2v10). Jesus Christ died to save us and make us His. And since Christ loved us that much, we should love each other.

In his letter to the church in Colossae, Paul wrote:

Colossians 3v12v28-34
Therefore, as God?s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

As we contemplate Christ's willing sacrifice for us, can we remember these words? Can we bear with each other and forgive one another? Jesus Christ bears with us and forgive us.

We've all been sinned against by other Christians, and we've all sinned against other Christians. We've all been hurt, and we've all hurt others. Whatever grievance we have, can we let go of our resentment and allow God to heal our hurt? In the light of the fact that the Lord has forgiven us all our sin, can we forgive each other?

Paul lists many virtues in this passage, and he ends by saying, "over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Love (Greek "agape") involves realising that the other person is just as valuable as we are. Every human (except Christ) is flawed, but every human is of infinite value.

And love involves living in accordance with this realisation. Just as we want to be accepted, forgiven, included, respected, tolerated and celebrated, so does the other person. And for us to treat him in this way is just as important as it is for others to treat us this way. Jesus said, "Do to others as you would have them do to you" (Luke 6v31) and " ?A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John13v34)

Can we "clothe [ourselves] with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience", and love our fellow Christians, even those who've hurt us in the past?