Clothe yourselves with the tender affections of compassion.
“The tender affections of compassion” are part of the new personality that all Christians are expected to put on. How can you cultivate tender feelings for others? Open your heart wide. Listen carefully when someone shares his feelings and concerns. Use your imagination and ask yourself: ‘If I were in his situation, how would I feel? What would I need?’ Do you know of a widow who needs help with repairs on her home? Is there an elderly Christian who needs transportation to get to the meetings, to go out in the ministry, or to go to the doctor? Even a small act of kindness can make a big difference in the life of a fellow worshipper in need. Above all, we can show tender concern for others by having a full share in the ministry. There is no greater way to make a difference in the lives of honesthearted ones!
It is interesting that the apostle exhorted Christians to “clothe” ourselves with love, or as it is worded in Colossians, with “tender affections of compassion.”
Jehovah first clothed the naked Adam and Eve with long animal skins as they were being escorted out of paradise into the harsh world of thorns and briars.
Interestingly, Revelation uses the analogy of nakedness in the context of Christ coming to inspect his congregation, saying: “‘Look! I am coming as a thief. Happy is the one who stays awake and keeps his outer garments, so that he may not walk naked and people look upon his shamefulness.’ And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Armageddon.”
It has been pointed out that the cloth that makes up our clothing is made of many small threads that are stitched together. Similarly, it is the seemingly small things that matter. Many little acts of kindness and compassion over a long period that make a difference in the lives of those with whom we interact.
The reality, though, is that the little things maybe lacking. Thoughtfulness and consideration may be wanting.
Jehovah foretold that the love of many will grow cold because of the increasing of lawlessness. Was Christ foretelling that people of the world will allow their love to grow cold? That is not reasonable. In context Jesus was speaking of the tribulation that would come upon his followers as a result of their being betrayed and persecuted by their brothers. Here is what Jesus said: “Then people will hand you over to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name. Then, too, many will be stumbled and will betray one another and will hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and mislead many; and because of the increasing of lawlessness, the love of the greater number will grow cold. But the one who has endured to the end will be saved.”
While it is obvious that the tribulation that Jesus spoke of has not begun, hence the love of the greater number has not grown cold —yet, there is a trend in that direction.
Of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses are convinced that the brotherhood enjoys unbreakable unity. But, just hypothetically, what would happen to organizational unity if it became undeniably obvious that the Watchtower had misled Jehovah’s Witnesses on the vital matter of the nature and timing of Christ’s return? Given the fact that over the years many of Jehovah’s Witnesses have stumbled over relatively trivial errors and inconsequential “adjustments,” the impact of the realization of gross deception would be considerable. Or as Jesus said, “many will be stumbled and will betray one another and will hate one another.”
Unfortunately this is not a hypothetical scenario. The fact is, the Watchtower has misled Jehovah’s Witnesses. Although many are blissfully unaware of the deception at the present moment, when nations and kingdoms go to war in the very near future and when all the other things Jehovah’s Witnesses have been led to believe have already fulfilled prophecy and cannot happen in the future actually happen, then their faith will be shaken as never before.
As it stands Jehovah’s Witnesses have been conditioned to believe that the Watchtower is Jehovah’s mouthpiece. But if that is the case, how could it be so wrong? That will be the test. That is why Christ stressed the importance of staying awake.
My advice is, follow the Watchtower’s advice as expressed in the day’s text. Make the bonds with fellow believers strong by doing the little things. The stronger the bonds of love the less likely it will be that they will be broken when others betray and hate one another.
And as the text exhorts, “use your imagination.” Think of the shock that the trusting brothers and sisters are going to experience when war engulfs the world and the witnessing work suddenly ceases, when terror and global pandemics and food shortages claim hundreds of millions of souls. Who are they going to turn to? The faithful and discreet slave is not going to have any answers then, even as Jehovah foretold in Isaiah: “Therefore, I am the One who will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men will perish, and the understanding of their discreet men will be hidden.” —Isaiah 29
But Paul assured us that love never fails. By being there now and strengthening the bonds of love with others you may have freeness of speech in the future and be instrumental in imparting courage, faith and hope during that time of distress, when the love of the greater number grows cold. By doing so you may strengthen others to endure to the end so as to be saved.