So now I knew where I stood. I was cherishing bitterness because I was functionally ignoring God's forgiveness and love. And I knew where I wanted to get. I wanted to revel in the gospel so deeply that I couldn't help but leave bitterness behind. I wanted grace instead of grudges. How would I get from Point A to Point B?
In the footnotes of that section of A Gospel Primer, the author referenced three Scripture passages that would become my route to renewal.
One of those passages came from Colossians 3 (more on the other two passages in a future post). I ended up spending some time over several weeks meditating on and memorizing the following verses:
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 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. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful (Col. 3:12-15).
Before launching into application of these words, I found in them a reminder to stop and dwell in the astonishing mercy of God. There are seven words that at first glance seem like an inconsequential clause, a phrase to gloss over as you get to the business of the instructions at hand. But these seven words are the primary business, the basis of everything else in the passage. I was arrested by these seven words: "as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved." God chose me to be his own before he even created the world (see Eph. 1:3-4). I am holy in Christ, and his Spirit sanctifies me. The Lord loves me, not because I am lovely or lovable, but because he has a great passion to claim sinners. Knowing that Jesus died to make me chosen, holy, and beloved, how much easier is it to put aside bitterness and love others?!
I'll stop there for now, but I'll share more of my meditations on Col. 3:12-15 soon.