v 12. Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Paul seems to be very fond of lists. Today’s list is a set of characteristics that we have to put on – or clothe ourselves with. Paul is urging us to embrace these qualities and make a distinct effort to cultivate them. Like clothes, they won’t just jump on us first thing in the morning, so serious determination is needed to see them becoming part and parcel of our being.
All five qualities mentioned in this list, ‘tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience’ seem to me to be the essential qualities needed to establish and maintain good relationships. Living in the world as we find it, enjoying good relationships is of fundamental importance. We see so many fractured relationships in families, neighbourhoods, workplaces and even in political parties, that Christian believers are in a position to model to society at large what sound and beneficial relationships should look like. I’m aware of the huge concern at present over mental health issues, and just how much bad relationships contribute to the problems people face.
So this week, as you get up in the morning and dress yourself, say ‘I’m also putting on tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience today’. Then be conscious of opportunities to show off your new clothes! You could be the one making a dramatic difference to relationships as you rub shoulders with people in the course of the day.