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Reflections of Love

This week, I filled a large bag with clothes that have been sitting in the closet collecting dust for a couple years. Some were tattered, others were out of fashion and a few no longer fit properly. Then, each day I started pulling pieces out to wear one more time, for the sake of nostalgia. Now they need to be rewashed and I may have to reconsider giving them to the Goodwill. Some of the clothes were worn for happy occasions or on vacations. It is hard to let go of the joyful reminders.

Lately, I forget about the clothes buried in drawers and closets because I am in a routine of wearing the same comfortable outfits. The stretchy pants and baggy shirts are not necessarily the most attractive. They are the easy choice and do not take much thought or effort to put on. Those neutral colors do not reflect my personality either. They are the clothes that everyone is wearing right now, so no one really pays attention. They are not meant to impress anyone, and they are not inviting compliments. They are non-relational.

If we consider how we are clothed, does it say something about our personality or love for one another? Saint Paul points out that God’s people should reflect the love that he bestowed on us, by donning the fruits of the Spirit. (Are you now getting a picture of being a tree with a full bounty of apples or oranges?)

He says in the letter to the Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

If each of those attributes were colors, we would look cheerful, approachable, friendly, helpful and positive. Perhaps we would still be comfortable too. If I dig deep into the closet, maybe I will find more patience that I desperately need. (The frustration of being home and waiting seven days for a repair man who never shows or calls, has put me in a captive state of mind). Humility might be found in the back of the drawer, especially on days when we are certain about something that no one else seems to understand.

If we are Chosen to be radical in our love, we must look and feel like the people who are brave enough to wear the bold colors of compassion, and the soft fabrics of kindness and gentleness. Humility and patience is a fashion design I do not see often. I imagine it to be a light and flowing chiffon. Certainly, we do not want to save these clothes for special occasions only.

My girlfriends like to exchange clothes with each other. It is a fun way to extend the wardrobe and try out new styles. In a close friendship, we naturally make a practice of exchanging a little kindness, too. There are times when our pride can be swapped for some humility, or boldness for gentleness. Some of our clothes might make better rags for cleaning up a mess. However we dress, we must always remember to put on the “armor” of faith, truth, righteousness and peace. They would make the perfect foundations.

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