Clothe Yourself, by Greg Matson
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
These last couple months have been most unusual times for this country and the world due to the outbreak of covid-19. We were finally able to gather for worship as a body again which was awesome, and we get to do it all again this Sunday! Finally, there is some semblance of normalcy.
As we spent the last two months homebound, many have been unemployed and others are working from home. Families have spent more time together than likely any other time in recent history — in some cases it’s been good but in other cases has increased the incidence of domestic violence, abuse and worsening depression. Which leads to the question: Has the treatment been worse than the disease itself?
I know everyone spent their times doing different things which they may not have had time in the past to do. We spent our time with our new boxer puppy named “Groot”. We got him at 8 weeks of age and for any of you that have had a puppy, you know what this entails. There was the going out 10-15 times a day trying to housebreak him. I would stand outside in the cold and wind for 10 minutes with Groot staring at me with his puppy eyes asking “what are we doing out here standing in the cold?” only to have an accident on the floor as we walked into the house. Luckily, we had several rolls of Bounty to clean up the hundreds of accidents he had. That may be a little of an exaggeration but I am a fisherman!
Now I can happily report that we are down to 0-1 accidents a day which is a vast improvement. He still acts like a child that has a bad case of ADD chewing on every object he comes across. I can’t count the number of rocks he has tried to eat as well as every dandelion in the lawn. His listening skills at best are that of a toddler. I will be the first to admit that I have lost my compassion and gentleness at times as he starts trying to make me into his personal chew toy. I have even had to ask myself if getting a new puppy at this stage in our lives was a good idea. I know that this is a phase, just like raising children, that he will eventually grow out of and, as pointed out by Cory, requires me to continue to use gentleness and patience even after counting to ten!
Reflecting on this virus and time spent with a new puppy, it is so clear to me that we, as God’s chosen people that are called to be set apart, need to demonstrate to the world compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience because of the love that has been given to us through Jesus. Our actions will be the very things that are countercultural and will set us apart in times of trials.
New Life has been blessed by a family that demonstrates these qualities. I personally had several calls and texts from people asking me how we were doing as a family? We received a card which was a huge blessing and the pastors stayed in touch with their often-humorous daily chats. The body remained patient as we followed the government mandate to avoid public gatherings but met weekly on line. The compassion of New Life continues to be evident in its weekly tithes even during these difficult times. We continue to support our many missionaries around the world which we have been able to hear from the past couple of weeks. All in all, these last two months have been difficult but they continue to point out that the only refuge to be found is in Jesus Christ and His church. We truly are loved by a Great and Awesome God.
In conclusion, I will admit that as a father, husband and pet owner I fall very short when it comes to clothing myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, but thankfully the God we worship does not. He demonstrated all of this in the sending of Jesus Christ who demonstrated the ultimate act of compassion by dying on the cross to take on our sins, humility by humbling himself by taking a human form, gentleness by allowing himself to be bound and tortured and finally patience by being slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love in spite of our sinful nature.
Hopeful successful dog trainer, greg