loving mercy is harder than it sounds | founders blog
Micah 6:8 , “… this is what the Lord requires of you, to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (NLT). This has been one of my favorite verses for years, even more so since we used it as the theme for a Children’s Sunday. As a pathway to Christian living, it feels simple and straightforward.
And yet what does it really mean to love mercy?
When we say, “Lord have mercy on us”, we are asking for forgiveness and love despite our missteps. We treasure the grace given to us and know we use it to “… forgive our debtors”. Loving mercy is simple when you are feeling grateful to the Lord for his continued grace and forgiveness. Mercy in action is being kind and compassionate to another person. We are enthusiastic about showing mercy and compassion to strangers in need, to acquaintances in our community, even to co-workers struggling with life’s challenges.
Loving mercy in the midst of a strained family relationship, however, is more complicated. Communication is difficult because of past hurts and anger can arise more quickly than I like to admit. After another recent unpleasant clash, I heard a personal challenge to choose between being right and loving mercy in Anne Lamott’s “Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy”. As she puts it, “Forgiveness and mercy mean that, bit by bit, you begin to outshine the resentment.” She invites us to do the work required, be it prayer and/or an apology, with the promise that “Kindness toward others and radical kindness to ourselves buy us a shot at a warm and generous heart, which is the greatest prize of all.”
Wish me well on the journey to radical kindness and softening my heart.
Linda loves to learn and be inspired through the creativity of others, especially music and the written word. She enjoys creating opportunities for one-on-one and group conversations that encourage youth and adults alike to be challenged, inspired, strengthened, and grown in their faith and their lives.