** Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: so shalt thou find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man. ** Proverbs 3:3,4
Dealing with people can be challenging. Every single one of us is at a different place in our maturing. Every one of us has a different background. Some of us grew up in happy homes. Some didn’t. Some of us married one person and stayed married for life. Some didn’t. Some of us were born healthy, some weren’t.
We all have different cultures, races, faiths, and habits. We are like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike.
All of that makes for interesting interactions.
This is where mercy and truth come in.
Mercy—-not giving people what they deserve. How does that work in every day life?
Well, I think back on when I was raising my kids. I ask myself if I could have been more merciful with them? Was I too quick to expect them to understand life before their time? Was I too quick to discipline instead of giving them time to grow up a bit so they could understand some of the that things I was trying to teach them?
Some people speak exactly what’s on their mind with no filter. Do I respond the same way? Do I just blurt out whatever is on my mind and give my opinion without ever considering how the other person might feel or react? Is it so important to me to have the last word that I am willing to leave someone with a crushed and defeated spirit? Am I being merciful to others when I respond badly?
We talked about our spouses and how we respond to them in our last post. Do I come at my husband with both barrels loaded when I don’t agree with him or do I stop and think before I speak and consider his perspective?
All of our personal interactions would be more peaceful and less emotional if we approached each person with mercy in mind. Sometimes someone will say something to me that I don’t appreciate but then I try to remember some of the foolish things I have said in the past and didn’t get blasted for it. Someone was merciful to me. Many someones. Now, it’s my turn.
Our pastor used to tell us that we all needed to grow thicker skin. I think, in part, he was talking about being merciful. To not instantly react to someone’s harsh or inconsiderate words or acts. That we shouldn’t think that every insult or criticism needs a reply. We can just show them mercy and be kind when they are cruel or thoughtless.
All of us wish we were and others were perfect. But none of us are. Only God is perfect. But He does tell us that He wants us to be perfect, like He is. It’s actually a command, not a suggestion. To be perfect or like God, we need to imitate His qualities. And one of his greatest qualities is being merciful. He NEVER gives us all that we deserve for the wrong we have done. Never! In fact, He does the opposite. He shows us grace…favor…blessing….even in the middle of our blunders.
Today, or tomorrow when someone does or says something unkind or without thought for the damage it could cause, we can all choose mercy. We can practice being perfect. We can practice being like God.
Can we all give it a try?