The Apostle Paul caught my heart again this week when he wrote that the church in Colossae “truly comprehended the grace of God” (Col. 1:6). I mean, really, is it even possible for a mere mortal to comprehend the grace of God? What would that be like?
True to form, Paul explains that this comprehension of God’s grace is borne out in our lives (1:9-12). We comprehend God’s grace when our lives “bear fruit.” We are “made strong.” We “grow in the knowledge of God,” “endure with patience,” and “joyfully give thanks.” Oh, dear Jesus, help me to truly comprehend the grace of God. Those qualities sound so good, so encouraging.
Paul brings it all together in 3:14, one of my favorite verses, “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” For me, that is the ultimate result of comprehending God’s grace.
There is so much division in our lives, our nation, and our society these days. I really do believe that love, arising out of a comprehension of God’s grace, may be the only path to real healing. God’s grace is demonstrated in God’s love for us, even in our brokenness, our rejection, and our betrayal of God. God loves us in spite of ourselves. That is grace! That is the love with which we need to clothe ourselves.
It is important that this love doesn’t well up inside us from our own power and will. This love of others is something external that we “put on.” It is God’s love, not ours, with which we clothe ourselves and then with God’s love we love others and are bound in harmony.
This is not about loving those who think as we do, vote like we do, worship like we do, look like we do. This is about loving those we might consider enemies. That is where our divisions exist. That is where healing is needed and that is where truly comprehending God’s grace, and putting on God’s love, will enable us to love others, even to perhaps see others as God loves them.
This is the only way we will find healing for our division. This is the only place we will find harmony.
I have a challenge for you. Where do you see division in your own life? Whom might you consider your enemy? Are you, right now, willing to think of that person or group, and ask God to help you love them as God loves them? Are you willing to clothe yourselves with God’s love?
While you consider these questions, I invite you to listen to this beautiful rendition of the ancient Gregorian chant, Ubi Caritas by the Monks of Glenstal Abbey. The translation of the first line is: “Where true love is, there is God.”
Tough questions! Important questions! Are you willing to at least ask them of yourself?