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“CLOTHE YOURSELVES WITH LOVE”
9. How has Jehovah set the example in displaying love?
9 Paul wrote: “Clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.” (Colossians 3:14) Jehovah has graciously provided this clothing for us. In what way? Christians can display love because it is one of the God-given fruits of Jehovah’s holy spirit. (Galatians 5:22, 23) Jehovah himself has displayed the greatest love by sending his only-begotten Son so that we might have everlasting life. (John 3:16) This supreme demonstration of love provided a model for us in expressing this quality. “If this is how God loved us,” wrote the apostle John, “then we are ourselves under obligation to love one another.”—1 John 4:11.
10. How can we benefit from “the whole association of brothers”?
10 Your attending the meetings at the Kingdom Hall will afford you an excellent opportunity to show love. There you will meet a wide variety of people. No doubt you will feel drawn to many of them right away. Of course, personalities differ even among those serving Jehovah. Perhaps in the past you simply avoided people who did not share your interests or traits. Christians, though, are to “have love for the whole association of brothers.” (1 Peter 2:17) Therefore, make it your aim to become acquainted with those at the Kingdom Hall—even individuals whose age, personality, race, or level of education may differ from yours. Likely you will find that each one excels in some endearing quality.
11. Why should you not be disturbed by the variety of personalities among Jehovah’s people?
11 The diversity of personalities in the congregation need not disturb you. To illustrate, imagine that numerous vehicles are traveling alongside you on a road. Not all are moving at the same speed, nor are all in the same condition. Some have traveled many miles, but like you, others have just started out. Regardless of these differences, however, all are traveling down the road. It is similar with the individuals making up a congregation. Not all develop Christian qualities at the same speed. Furthermore, not all are in the same physical or emotional condition. Some have been worshiping Jehovah for many years; others have just begun. Yet, all are traveling along the road to everlasting life, “fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.” (1 Corinthians 1:10) Therefore, look for the strengths rather than the weaknesses of those in the congregation. Doing that will warm your heart, for you will realize that God is really among these people. And surely this is where you want to be.—1 Corinthians 14:25.
12, 13. (a) If someone in the congregation offends you, what can you do? (b) Why is it important not to harbor resentment?
12 Since all humans are imperfect, at times someone in the congregation may say or do something that upsets you. (Romans 3:23) The disciple James realistically wrote: “We all stumble many times. If anyone does not stumble in word, this one is a perfect man.” (James 3:2) How will you react if someone offends you? A Bible proverb says: “The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger, and it is beauty on his part to pass over transgression.” (Proverbs 19:11) To have insight means to see beneath the surface of a situation, to grasp underlying factors that cause a person to talk or act in a certain way. Most of us use much insight in excusing our own mistakes. Why not also use it to understand and cover the imperfections of others?—Matthew 7:1-5; Colossians 3:13.
13 Never forget that we must forgive others if we ourselves are to receive Jehovah’s forgiveness. (Matthew 6:9, 12, 14, 15) If we are practicing the truth, we will treat others in a loving way. (1 John 1:6, 7; 3:14-16; 4:20, 21) Therefore, if you encounter a problem with an individual in the congregation, fight against harboring resentment. If you are clothed with love, you will strive to resolve the problem, and you will not hesitate to apologize if you have caused offense.—Matthew 5:23, 24; 18:15-17.
14. With what qualities should we be clothed?
14 Our spiritual clothing should include other qualities closely related to love. Paul wrote: “Clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, mildness, and long-suffering.” These traits, encompassed by love, are part of the godly “new personality.” (Colossians 3:10, 12) Will you make the effort to clothe yourself in this way? Especially if you clothe yourself with brotherly love will you bear an identifying mark of Jesus’ disciples, for he said: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.”—John 13:35.