There were times when I was leaving the house that my beloved would say to me, “Duane, are you wearing that?” My immediate assumption was, “She doesn’t think that what I have on is appropriate.” A variation might be, “Do you think that tie matches your outfit?” Her question usually resulted in a change of clothing. She had a keen sense for what was appropriate for any occasion. So, my question is, “What are you wearing?”
There are six articles of clothing that we need to get rid of. No! Don’t give them away, just get rid of them. And there are things that we need to take out of the closet and wear.
We are to put off and destroy:
- Anger – our sense of entitlement – I have my rights. There are times when anger is an appropriate article of clothing but most of the time it fuels dissension and puts a distance between people. When we suffer injustice or have our identity violated there is a time and place to express anger. “When you use words that put me down, my anger meter registers 9 out of 10.” In other words, we make a statement of fact rather than express an outburst of emotion.
The negative side of anger is when we use our emotion to push people away.
- Wrath – I am the final judge. Wrath operates on the premise that I have the right to punish you for whatever it is that you have done that is wrong. My judgment is final and needs no substantiation. You are wrong! I am right! And now you must pay. My decision is final, and no defense can change my mind.
- Malice – I have the right to revenge. This motivates me to extract from you just recompense for the pain you have caused. Admitting you were wrong does not alleviate the pain and suffering you have caused.
- Slander – I will destroy your reputation. I will use what you have done to me to assume that I have the right to defame your reputation. I want the world to have my interpretation of your character. I will use subtle innuendos to cast a shadow of doubt over your character. If I can get people to question your motivation, they will become allies in my cause.
- Abusive speech – I will diminish your value. Trash talk attacks the authenticity of who you are. It redefines you within the boundaries of my evaluation.
- Lying – I will create my own reality. Every person’s way is right in his own eyes. My mission is to convince you that I am right, and you are wrong.
Once we have gotten rid of our old dirty clothes, we are ready for a make-over.
We are to put on:
- Compassion – Allowing my soul to be impacted with what has hurt you. In other words, I allow my emotion to be touched with the feeling of your infirmity.
- Kindness – I will make my assets available to you. I will assess your need and be willing to make the supply available to you.
- Humility – I will affirm the value of your strength. The temptation is to measure another person’s weakness with our strength rather than recognizing that we need what their strength brings to our weakness.
- Gentleness – I will reduce my strength so as not to overpower your weakness. Your strength is an asset, but it turns to a liability if you use it to overpower those who are weaker.
- Patience – I will not impose my timeline on your change.
- Forgiveness – I will recognize the many times in my life where I have needed the mercy of others and will use the hurt I feel to make me sensitive to the need in you that has motivated your behavior.
- Love – I will seek your good at my expense.
With an outfit like that you will be a very attractive person. Change your clothes and I’ll see you at the top.