“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.”
Colossians 3:12-14, NLT
Friend to Friend
I expected my usually happy teenage daughter to bounce into my office singing VBS songs from her morning spent serving at church. Instead, her sullen face conveyed another story. She was battling feelings of betrayal, insecurity, and jealousy after receiving a message from a friend about something that was happening in a completely different place.
Let’s just say this mama llama wanted to spew more than a few unpleasantries about social media and towards the adult involved behind the scenes. Yet I could feel God urging me to not be so easily offended. I’d been down this road enough times before to recognize what was happening.
Satan was busy writing the story in my head according to his own agenda.
Can you relate?
The Holy Spirit prompted me to take hold of my thought life before doing or saying something I might regret. While I’ve been practicing taking my thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and asking God to align them with His truth (Romans 12:2) for the last decade, I’ve come to see that I have a harder time doing this when a relationship is at stake. It’s hard to find your voice when you’re already wounded and fear more rejection. Yet, avoiding conflict never leads to relationship restoration.
So I skipped the easy-out texting approach and took the risk with an old-fashioned phone call. I put into action the best communication tactics anytime conflict is brewing. I prayed for God to speak through me and asked the open-ended questions I’ve been trained to use as a life coach. It worked! As I listened and affirmed my commitment to our friendship, her voice softened. Her defenses dropped. And the truth rose beautifully out of it all.
Turns out that there was no reason to be offended. There was no intention to hurt my girl or betray us. There was no ill will. There was a perfectly good explanation that social media failed to capture. I should have known!
Satan is the King of Drama ready to destroy every relationship God created for His glory and kingdom purposes.
Maybe that’s why Paul urges the Colossians and us to clothe ourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, making allowance for each other’s faults. Yes, it’s always beneficial when we choose to seek forgiveness and extend it. It’s God honoring when we put on love in the pursuit of unity.
When we live according to God’s design, we get to experience a whole lot less drama along with the blessings that come from real-time relationships restored by His love and extravagant grace.
Dear Lord, thank you for Your Word that speaks timeless truths into our lives today. Please give us the conviction and courage to live it out. Please make us aware of Satan’s drama and his antics designed to divide us. Enable us to put on love as we walk in Your truth in real time.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
How do you respond to offenses and relational conflicts? What would happen if you turned toward God and asked Him to reveal truth as you clothe yourself in His love and walked it out?
More from the Girlfriends
Elisa Pulliam is a coach, author, podcaster, and speaker passionate about helping women experience a fresh encounter with God and His Word. She is the founder of More to Be, a ministry devoted to helping live transformed and impact this world with kingdom hope. She is also the founder of It Is Well, where she helps women simplify the transition into wellness by cultivating a whole food and toxin-free lifestyle for themselves and their families. She is enjoying the adventure of being married to Stephen for 23 years, raising their brood of teenagers together, and savoring time at her friend’s farm riding, Lindy, a mare that’s teaching her more about herself and God. Connect with Elisa at MoretoBe.com and ItIsWell.us.