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.Colossians 3:12-14 ESV
As children of God, we are to be the most loving people that the people in our lives know. Would your spouse describe you as the most loving person that they know? Sadly, far too often the honest answer to that question reveals the state of our marriages.
In this passage, we are given specific traits that we are to demonstrate toward our spouses—compassion, kindness, meekness, and patience. Since these are the characteristics that embody love, we should pause to reflect what each of these traits truly look like in our marriages.
Compassion. Do we live with compassionate hearts for our spouses? Compassion is the ability to feel what others are feeling. When our spouse is hurting, do you take the time to hurt with them and care for their broken heart? When they come home exhausted after a long day, when they are hurting over relational strife in their lives, when they are defeated by life’s struggle, do you take the time to listen and care about their struggle? Or do we bulldoze over their feelings because we have our own agendas, our own issues that need to be addressed?
I think one of the greatest problems in marriage is the way we dismiss our spouses’ feelings because we have our own plan. What if we demonstrated love by asking about their needs first? What if we listened rather than spoke?
We must be careful as we navigate through our own trials that we never allow them to become bigger than our spouses’. It’s tempting in a world focused on self to consider my problems first, to talk about what is bothering me, to turn the attention to me…but that’s not what a compassionate heart looks like. A compassionate heart doesn’t say “I love you,” it says “I love you before me.” A compassion heart looks to the needs of others before it looks to self. A compassionate heart desires to show love by jumping into the heartache and the struggle with another. A compassionate heart feels the pain and heartache of the other person, and says I am here for you.
God’s original design for us was that we are to care deeply for one another, but sin broke us and turned us inward toward ourselves. We must constantly fight against that urge. 2 Coronthians 1:3-4 teaches us that our trials break us out of our own heads, and help develop in us compassionate hearts. As we struggle, we begin to understand one another’s struggles a little better, and our hearts become more compassionate.
That’s always been His plan for us—that we deeply care for one another. His plan included marriage as a way for us to work on developing a compassionate heart for others. Praying as God continues to work in me, that He transforms my selfish heart into one that is full of compassion for my spouse, that my desire is to listen to his struggles and his challenges before my own. I know this only happens through the work of the Spirit, so before I try to BE more compassionate, I spend time allowing Him to fill my heart with compassion.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗