Dress For Kindness
Have you ever been ready to go to work in the morning, and when you opened the door, you're hit by a blast of summer air mixed with humidity, and you realize you won't make it to work without melting? What do you do? You go back inside the house and change to lighter clothing. Your skin is not tolerant toward the heat, so you clothe yourself accordingly. Paul said we're to do the same thing in our personal relationships—“Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12)
The phrase "clothe yourselves" is used because sometimes you have to cover your feelings by "putting on" the right behavior. Your feelings may be sending you in one direction emotionally, but you can clothe yourself with attitudes and behavior that move you in the right direction.
Over the years you've been lied to about your feelings. You've been told if you feel something it must be real. You've been told that if you have feelings you should express them to others; you need to get your feelings out in the open so you can deal with them. I have to say that spitting out a bunch of hostile, angry, mean, resentful words at someone is not going to help. It will not make you a better person, it will not make them a better person, and it won't improve your relationship. Just because you feel something doesn't mean you have to say it. And you don't have to let your feelings control your actions.
Paul said, "Put on compassion...put on kindness...put on gentleness." You may not feel these things, but you can "put them on" — at least temporarily. Some people say, "That's hypocritical," but it's not. If you feel dislike for another person, and you show them kindness, you're not being hypocritical, you're being godly. The Bible never tells you that you will be judged according to your feelings. It says again and again you are judged according to your actions. “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life” (Romans 2:7). You can't always control the way you feel, but you can control the way you dress. So, dress for success. Dress yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Does this mean you sweep conflict with others under the rug? No. It means that when you deal with conflict you put your feelings aside and you put a layer of holiness between you and the other person.