When people interact together, it is only a matter of time before some type of conflict will wise. When the interaction involves one person trying to instruct or mentor another, the chances of it occurring increase.
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to lead someone who continually struggles to either keep up or perform as expected. So, what should our response be?
When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. (Psalms 94:18)
As we strive to trust God and walk in his ways, how does he respond when we falter? He doesn’t attack or pound us down, but instead holds us up by his mercy.
When people are struggling, our response toward them should be the same. We should respond with mercy. There is a difference between struggling and refusing. When people struggle, they are striving to accomplish or perform as expected, but yet still need support. We love it when people show mercy towards us and especially when we receive it from God. His dealings with us are a pattern or model for us to follow.
Patience is still a virtue. So at work, be patient and show mercy. As you raise your children, remember mercy. Mercy is like a fertilizer. When it is used correctly, it will enhance the growth of your relationships. Without mercy, relationships can die. If you want to make a great difference by helping people, you need to exercise mercy.
God’s mercy: we talk about it, read about and even sing about it. But what is it? I know that you may have coined phrases and shoot from the hip definitions for this term, but have you ever personally tried to define it?
In Psalm 51, David cries out to the Lord for mercy. The definition of the Hebrew word for mercy means ” to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior”. Think about it. Whenever God shows mercy towards us, he, in the splendor of his high exalted state, stoops down to you and me.
Why would such an exalted being be willing to perform such a humbling task? He does this because of his loving kindness. As a loving expectant mother feels love in the womb for her child, our Heavenly Father experiences the same towards us. This form of love is described as tender mercy and it is this tender mercy that moves him to stoop down.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (Psalms 51:1)
When you pray, God stoops down to answer and meet your needs, When you need help, he stoops down to give you strength and when you fall, he even stoops down to pick you up. He stooped down to become man and stooped down even further to become our sin bearer. If you think about it, possibly the greatest manifestation of God’s love is his stooping down.
Our attitude towards the law will determine whether or not we forget the law and commandments. If we desire them and their benefits, our hearts will be inclined to guard God’s laws and commandments, but if we seek the world and its vanity, we will forget or mislay them.
Mercy and truth may come to us, but they will not stay with us unless we hold onto them. If we do not bind them about our necks and write them upon our hearts, they will depart. When mercy and truth depart, their blessings leave with them.
Trauma is a terrible thing. It reaches deep into the resources of the soul and damages everything that it touches. Only now are we beginning to understand the effects of trauma as we help soldiers returning from war, but trauma isn’t something new. We have been battling trauma on the domestic front for years. Even though many lives have been destroyed by it, there is hope.
Hope for those traumatized can be provided by those whom they can trust. Please let me illustrate. This morning I woke up to the sound of rain. I looked next to the bed and sure enough, the Shepherd was under the chair. Our rescue had been traumatized by gun shots, being hit by a car and taunted by passers by as he remained tied to a fence with a broken hip. It doesn’t take much to trigger fears and even reenactments. So while he was terrified to go outside and do his morning business because of rain and the potential for thunder, I went out into the yard and called him to me. As he approached, I gave him the repeated rhythmic shsh, shsh, shsh, shsh, shshshshshshsh that I give to soothe him when he is overcome with anxiety. He recognized my call of caring and came next to me. He practically knocked me over to get close enough to feel safe.
Jesus provides the same type of care. He recognizes our fears and calls us to him. As we hear his voice and get close to him, he provides comfort and security. The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1b). In this verse, the Psalmist declares that the Lord is his defense or fortified place. He was that for him and he wants to be the same for you. Will you hear his call? Will you run to him for comfort and security? He is waiting and ready to aid you in your trauma.
One of the attributes of God is that he is omniscient, which means that he is all knowing. He knows all that has occurred in the past, he knows what is in the heart of man and what is taking place currently, and he knows what will happen in the future.
When God became man, he cloaked his diety: that is to say that as God, Jesus functioned as a man and only accessed his divine powers and abilities as directed by the father.
In this passage when Jesus came face to face with the widow, he, as God, saw her and her condition for the first time. What occurred revealed the nature of God towards man. The scriptures state that when he saw her, he had compassion on her. From this, we can know that as God looks upon us, he will be moved with compassion towards us. Although his plan may require that we endure particular hardships in life, but nonetheless his heart is moved with compassion.
We too should have compassion on others. What is needed for this to occur is to see individuals in their state. This may come from visual sight or Holy Spirit illumination. It is difficult to have compassion on someone if you cannot see them. So in order for us to have compassion, we must see them.
Mercy and truth are like the sunset. Sunsets are beautiful experiences, but unless they are captured in thought, on canvas or on film, they will be lost. Mercy and truth are presented to us by God. We gain it from his word, but unless we taken measures to preserve them, they too will be lost.
God tells us to bind mercy and truth about our necks and write them upon the table of our hearts. (Prov. 3:3). If we live life with mercy and truth, it us because we failed to secure it. We may have enjoyed its pleasure for a season, but like the sunset, it was gone.
Living the Christian life is not easy. Sometimes you need to reach out to people who have hurt you. God will direct us to do this for our and their benefit. What is most difficult about it is that many times we don’t want to reach out and at the same time, God doesn’t give us the chance to option out.
However with God, it is a different situation. God, who has every right to punish sinners for their wicked deeds, willfully takes action which will enable him to avoid it. For this to be accomplished, he does not require the sinner to come to him, but rather that he reaches out to the sinner.
Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. (Jonah 1:2)
God is very long suffering towards sinners. He endured the wickedness of the Ninevites and commanded Jonah to convincingly cry out to them for repentance. He also did not give up on Jonah in spite of his disobedience and fleeing to Tarshish.
God is also long suffering towards us. While lost in sin as the Ninevites or disobediently walking as a believer like Jonah, God demonstrates long suffering towards us by not dealing with us in judgment. For the lost, he reaches out in love as a savior, for the disobedient, he reaches out as a loving father.
God’s dealings in the book of Jonah are an excellent example of how he deals with us. As long as we are alive, his love and mercy overrides his righteous anger towards sin. He is always ready to save and forgive.