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.
~ Colossians 3:12 - 14
Lately I have encountered people who seem to be carrying anger that they simply no longer want to own. As one person put it, "I just don't have the energy to be 'this angry any longer.'"
I have often wondered why Jesus talked so much about forgiveness and loving one another. I have come to the realization that these are the very things that bring about peace in our life and in the world.
I spent time with a woman in her fifties who probably only has a few weeks to live. She explained that she had to finally, "just let my anger go."
She and her father had a very rough relationship growing up. She is an oldest child, who just seemed to live her whole life attempting to reach a bar raised so high above, that she just never could seem to find a way to ever meet his expectations. "I tried so hard, but then at the end of the day, I would spend my energy beating myself up, and as I got older, I just became angry."
It wasn't until the death of his dad that I realized that his expectations were the same that he had lived with. "When I realized that, my forgiving him might actually allow for him to finally have peace as well."
She went on to say that she was able to openly talk about what she had felt throughout her life, and what she had observed in his own life. "His tears began to flow, and so did mine. It was as if we were watching all our pain just wash away."
"Last night we just sat next to one another, held hands, and watched television. I can't really tell you what program was on. All I know is that the anger was gone, and I was sitting with my dad, holding his hand."
"Clothing ourselves in compassion, humility, gentleness and patience," as the writer of Colossians shares, provides a way for us to allow for forgiveness and the welcoming of peace. It brings us to a place where we can finally breathe and let things go, like anger, and to seek out and find forgiveness.
"I am so glad to know that I don't have to spend any more of my energy on this," she said. "I have discovered the peace of sitting still, and allowing forgiveness to exist."
Allowing God to clothe us in these things, means allowing for our spirit to find peace.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.