A good sermon is a wonderful gift that should be welcomed and shared.
This past Sunday, one of our church’s pastors, Derick Zeulner, preached an encouraging and needed sermon (for my soul, at least) on Colossians 3:12-17. To spread it’s usefulness and encouragement, I want to post a section of the sermon here that I particularly needed. I assume you need it too. The specific section below has to do with the following text:
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. ” Colossians 3:12-13
From this text, Pastor Derick unpacks what Paul means by “bearing with one another…” and “forgiving one another.”
Do you know what you bear? Burdens.
This is a burdensome idea – you don’t bear with a friend when they surprise you with your favorite drink. You don’t bear with a person in whom you discover lots of common interests. You don’t have to bear with someone who loves to listen and ask interesting questions.
You bear with people who are abrasive or invade your personal space; you bear with someone who talks louder (or quieter) than you like or about subjects you don’t care to hear about.
NT Wright defines bearing with one another as “restraining your natural reaction towards odd or difficult people” and then he adds – “it’s letting them be themselves”… Letting them be themselves, even if that means they don’t act as you’d like them to, or in a way that’s easy for you to get along with.
Because, if you are dressed in compassion and kindness, humility, meekness, and patience… then you are going to bear with your fellow believers, and not just once, but each additional occasion.
And the second practical application: FORGIVING each other.
“And, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
It’s one thing to bear with people that just kind of rub you the wrong way, in their personality or behaviors… but what about when they wrong you. When they sin against you.
Paul says: “If one has a complaint against another…” Have you ever had a complaint against someone else? Someone in the church perhaps? A fellow believer that did something, that you just could not believe. Maybe they turned their back on you. Or Made you feel left out. Maybe they made you feel insignificant or didn’t consult you about their plans. Maybe they slandered your name under the guise of “prayer concerns” or unfairly judged you. Maybe they burst out in anger at you, and said terrible things about you or your kids. Or maybe they just failed to listen, failed to care, failed to do something to help you, failed to be a friend or a brother…There are so many ways that we hurt each other, so many ways that we can bring pain into a relationship – and I have only listed the ways that I know I have sinned against others.
You see there are really just 2 ways that problems crop up in a relationship: I offend you. Or you offend me. But, Paul addresses the offended person and says you are to forgive. Now, this is not for the offender to point to and demand forgiveness. No, for you, your place is to apologize and go out of your way to make amends…
But Paul looks to the offended… and he says forgive.
Here we will start to object, “But, Paul! You don’t know what they did!” And Paul says, “Clothe yourself with Christ’s character and forgive.”
“But, you don’t understand how much they hurt me!” And Paul says, “As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive…”
Let those who have ears, hear.