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. Col. 3:12-14
Merciful Lord Jesus, this portion of your Word is brimming over with unparalleled encouragement and heart-smiting conviction. You've made us for deep intimacy and relational joy, first and foremost with yourself. And out of that relationship, we are to love others as you love us; but sin sure has done a number on how we relate to one another. I'm glad there's grace and repentance for every soul-sucking, crazy-making, immaturity-showing relational dance we learn.
Lord Jesus, as someone chosen in you before the world began, holy in you, and dearly loved by you, help me stay aware of how others experience me. Convict me when I come across as a minefield of irritability, a self-righteous porcupine, or a rigid control-meister. I don't want to be the kind of person who makes others feel the need to tiptoe around or avoid me. Through the resources of the gospel, help me to see, own, and deal with the ways I love poorly.
My need doesn't stop there, Jesus. I'm also guilty of being on the other end of this broken style of relating---of treating others as too fragile or too dangerous to handle feedback or conflict. When I fall into this pattern, it simply reveals how little of your love I'm currently enjoying and how little of the power of the gospel is presently at work in my life.
Jesus, you've forgiven every sin I've ever, or will ever commit. You forbear with me through every way I fall short of your glory. I test your patience, but I don't threaten the supply of your mercy. Never let me forget this for a nanosecond. Only as I stay alive to the ways you love me will I seek to love others well. Daily, sometimes hourly, astonish me with the gospel that I might remember to put on the garments of your grace: kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
I long for the day of complete wholeness and health, when every one of our relationships will reflect the joy, peace, and intimacy of the Trinity. Until that day, give more grace to these yet-to-be-glorified hearts of ours, Jesus. So very Amen I pray, in your kind and persistent name.