"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion." - Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
Have you noticed that people will often notice what you're wearing before they even notice you? It's said that the hat worn by Aretha Franklin at the first inauguration of President Barack Obama in Washington, DC could be seen all the way from Maryland and parts of Virginia. The hat, as well as the soul singer, got crazy R-E-S-P-E-C-T and made its creator, then-36-year-old Luke Song from South Korea, globally famous.
People who don't even know us will often comment on what we're wearing. "Love the color of that jacket." "Where'd you get those shoes?" "You look like you're going to a party." "Don't take that tie off, you might lose it."
We know that we are much more than what we wear, but what we choose to put on does say something about our mood, our functionality and even our values. We dress to impress … we dress to relax ... we dress to convey certain messages and to set certain moods. We dress to make statements all the time. RuPaul says that we are all in drag.
The Colossians writer admonishes us to wear that which suits our character. The writer is concerned that what we put on not be a betrayal of what we claim to possess. People in volatile situations need to be able to readily identify those who are present and able to help. Uniforms may not always be an accurate indicator, but uniforms are the most apparent sign of a person's qualifications and intent.
Compassion is the standard uniform of the conscientious. Other outfits just don't suit us.
Lord, whatever the season, clothe me in your love and compassion. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.