This has been a volatile year. On every issue or crisis people are picking sides. Our country is divided, but sadly it’s dividing our families as well. One family member thinks all these rules are helpful and another can’t stand to hear one more imposed law.
There is a verse in the Bible that reminds me what is important when life gets confusing. Micah 6:8 starts off with, “The Lord has told you what is good and this is what He requires of you.” Last week we talked about the first thing: Do What is Right. This week we are focusing on to Love Mercy. And next week we will finish up with Walk Humbly with your God.
During this pandemic I do believe there are varying degrees of responses. From one extreme: stay home and have everything shipped in until you’ve had the vaccine. To the other extreme: go out without face coverings everywhere and assert your will to be free. The reality is we are all somewhere in the middle. Some more cautious than others. I think this is where to love mercy comes in.
“The LORD has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.”
Notice it says to love mercy, not just have mercy. Ouch. I do not love mercy right now. The men in my family have decided they can’t be near my daughter and I because we just traveled out of state, by airplane, to and from Grandma’s house. Their fears have made being home again unbearable. I honestly want to rattle their cages and say: “loosen up guys!”
Dear God, I’m having a hard time being merciful right now. It seems they are too cautious and sometimes even too extreme. I was hurt when they quarantined me for 2 weeks after my trip. That seemed unloving to me. I just wanted a hug and warm family conversation, but that didn’t happen. I am deeply hurt. I’m having a hard time moving on from here.
God’s Word to us: My sweet daughter, I know they have hurt you. This is your family and they have rejected you, even withheld love from you because of their fears. Let me soothe your heart. I will make things new again. I will restore the trust and your relationships. I know this is what you want most. And from here you four can walk forward each day together again.
Mercy means to have compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.
To love mercy is to accept when someone you love is choosing to be more cautious than you. Likewise you love mercy when you allow someone more freedom than you are comfortable with.
This is the give and take of a family. My husband may be more cautious than me and not want to go out much. I feel fine going out. Mask on and some wipes and I’m good to go. As I remember, when our children were babies, he wasn’t exactly comfortable with changing diapers either. I naturally just got that task done. Masks would have been nice in that instance though. As long as we all work together and work hard not to judge each other’s natural disposition, then we can accomplish a lot. I must admit this is hard work. Sometimes my attitude gets the best of me. I get impatient.
Choosing mercy requires me to slow down to see how everyone else is feeling about taking a step forward. I will have compassion for the friend who has to go to church, sing and not wear a face mask. As well as having daily compassion for my family, who has quarantined me for 2 weeks.
God has been slowing all of us down. Many of our activities have been cancelled. Our responsibilities have been reduced or at least changed. We have experienced a side of our family in the heat of this crisis that we’ve never seen before. Some of it has been good and some of it has been hard. We are all stressed. We are all tired of living like this. We are tired of worrying what will come next or how this thing will end.
This is why we need to learn to love mercy. If we choose to not grow in this area, we will be miserable and our family will be too.
A verse for those who are more cautious or fearful: “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
A verse for those who are more free-feeling but are prone to think this Covid situation is a conspiracy: “Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.”
“Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no account of wrongs.
Love takes no pleasure in evil,
but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never fails.”
This passage, within the context of this Covid crisis, has more meaning than I’ve ever experienced in my life. After reading and contemplating it, I believe that Love is what we really need to focus on. We have always been told to love our family, our friends and those around us. Well, here is some real “boots on the ground” time to practice this. This Love Chapter challenges me. My prayer is that it will challenge you as well. It’s the way we can show mercy. It deals with the selfishness and anger we feel. It pushes us towards being kind and being patient. It reminds us to have hope and endure.
I don’t know about you, but I have some loved ones I need to forgive and show mercy to.
Until next time …
Special note: Thank you Barbara for the use of this picture. It displays how beautiful it can be in Southern California. Visit her Facebook Photography page.
Micah 6:8 NLT
Joshua 1:9 NLT
2 John 1:3 NLT
I Corinthians 13:4-8 NLT