At other’s mercy

But you, my Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy; you are very patient and full of faithful love. ~Psalm 86:15 (CEB)

There have been times that I have found myself in a place where I have had to rely on someone’s mercy for my basic needs. I have found myself relying on someone to provide a place for my stuff, food to eat and a space to lay my head for sleep. It can be awkward and uncomfortable being left to someone else’s discretion for meeting these basic needs. I may not get to eat the type of food I like to eat. I may have to share a small space with my whole family that normally would accommodate just one. There may be no guarantee of when I will get to take a shower and even then I may be rushed through it because others need to use the same bathroom. This can cause moments of discomfort, like when I am hungry, tired or frustrated at different ways of doing things.

A recent experience with this has had me thinking about the homeless families who struggle with finding a space to put their stuff and who find themselves at the mercies of others. Unlike my circumstances where I was simply visiting family for a short time where the minor discomforts were countered with joyous times, there are families who have found themselves at others mercies because of tragedy. Unlike my situation, they don’t know the end of their time of depending on someone else to provide for their needs. There are no guarantees that they will be given the basics of food and space.

It can be easy to blame someone for their circumstances and to look the other way. It is easy to say well they did this to themselves so I am resolved of any responsibility. Well the Bible has a lot to say about mercy and that we are to be hospitable. But it is also easy to dismiss a “group” of people. It is harder when I come into contact with individuals and learn about their circumstances. It is hard once I get to know someone not to have compassion.

Compassion is having God’s heart to look past someone’s faults or how they got into their circumstances, yet loving them enough to show them mercy. Mercy could be the shot in the arm that someone needed to rise above their circumstances. Being filled with God’s patience and faithful love I can make a difference in an individual life. I may never change the masses but I may be called to serve in an individual life.

Heavenly Father, when opportunities arise to serve, may I be Your love and mercy. I thank You for those who have showed mercy and compassion to me. Amen.

Mercy, not sacrafice

Go and learn what this means: I want mercy and not sacrifice. I didn’t come to call righteous people, but sinners. ~Matt 9:13

 

“Following the way of forgiveness prepares us to go one step further. Something more is asked of us by Jesus: ‘Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I didn’t come to call the righteous, but the sinner.’

This ‘something more’ is compassion. Once we grasp the depth of God’s merciful love for us, he wants us to express that same compassion for others. This is the balm that softens the scars of sinfulness and suffering. As we show mercy to others, so they will extend the blessing to us in turn.

Ask yourself some revealing questions: Do I sense the presence of the suffering Christ in others? Do I share their pain? Am I aware of their vulnerability? Do I know that the need for mercy is often hidden under a mask of self-sufficiency, coldness, and indifference?” ~From Divine Guidance by Susan Muto and Adrian Van Kamm

Heavenly Father, help me to understand Your ways of mercy. Help me to sense the presence of the suffering Christ in others. Help me to share their pain. Let me see past the masks of self-sufficiency, coldness and indifference to the vulnerability inside. Amen.

Bondage

Jesus said, “Not just seven times, but rather as many as seventy- seven times. ~Matt. 18:22 (CEB)

“Community is not possible without the willingness to forgive one another ‘seventy-seven times’. Forgiveness is the cement of community life. Forgiveness holds us together through good times and bad times, and it allows us to grow in mutual love. . . .

To forgive another person from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. We say, ‘I no longer hold your offense against you.’ But there is more. We also free ourselves from the burden of being the ‘offended one.’ As long as we do not forgive those who have wounded us, we carry them with us or, worse, pull them as a heavy load. That great temptation is to cling to anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to the freedom of the children of God.” ~From Bread for the Journey by Henri J. M. Nouwen

Liberate me Almighty Go, from the chains that bind my heart from loving You more fully. My anger blinds me from see You more fully. Open my eyes that I might see how You would have me live in freedom. Amen.