By Kojo Zilevu
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14)
The Lord tells us to bear with one another and forgive each other regardless of the complaint. We are to do this in the same manner Christ forgives us. The Lord forgives us in many ways. When we sin, He forgives us when we confess it. In fact, we don’t even have to confess a sin twice because the Lord is so quick to forgive. But there is another way in which He forgives us that has challenged me lately and that is when we sin unconsciously.
If we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins (1 John 1:9). But we also commit many sins unconsciously which we are unaware of. Those unconscious sins also put Jesus on the cross. We hurt the Lord everyday unconsciously yet He still forgives us and has been bearing with us all this time. The Holy Spirit tells us to forgive each other in the same way (Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:32). People will hurt us unconsciously and we are to bear with them and forgive them. Jesus has been bearing with you in the same way. Is it too much for you to do the same to others? The Holy Spirit tells us to be imitators of God in forgiving one another (Ephesians 4:32 – 5:2). Once Jesus forgives us, He doesn’t bring the issue up at a later date to remind us. We are to forgive like that, not reminding others time and time again of the mistakes they did. Certainly, the Lord wouldn’t admonish us to obey this commandment if it weren’t possible. Furthermore, forgiving others is one of the ways we are to keep Satan out of the church. Paul had the habit of forgiving people so that Satan didn’t take advantage of him. Unforgiveness is one of Satan’s schemes that bring disunity among believers and we are not to be ignorant of his schemes ( 2 Corinthians 2:11).
Beyond forgiveness, we are also told to put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Love is the perfect bond of unity. God has given us many liquids like cyanoacrylate (superglue) that can bond broken items. We wouldn’t try to patch a broken vessel with water because it wouldn’t bond. It will just fall apart the moment you let go. Here, the Holy Spirit says love is the perfect bond of unity. The body of Christ can only be held together through love. Friendships, good teaching, correct doctrine etc won’t hold a church together forever, but love certainly would. It is the perfect bond to hold believers together and it never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). We often speak of love, but the proof of our love is seen when our unity with another brother or sister is tested. If we truly have the love of God dwelling in our hearts, then it will bond us together in unity.
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. “ (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Here, it says love does not take into account a wrong suffered. Love does not keep a record of a wrong suffered. We keep accounts and records of things we want to remember; love doesn’t. If you looked at the “wrongs suffered” account pages of a person who loves, it will be empty. This is the way our Father in heaven wants us to live. Now what about your “wrongs suffered” account? Are those pages blank? Have you crossed off all the wrongs people have done to you? We may not forget all the evil done to us, but we don’t have to keep an account of it.