Are we the good Christian on a Sunday, but walk out of church resorting to the ways of the world, and the old patterns of behaviour?
We ask the Lord for forgiveness when we stumble. We cry out to the Lord to have mercy on us, and for a miraculous turnaround in our lives, wondering sometimes why we are either not seeing the promises manifest in our lives, or they are not fast enough for our liking.
The question I wish to pose to you is this: When you walk out of church on a Sunday, are you extending that same mercy and grace on all you meet in your normal day to day? When you pull up at the traffic light and a homeless person comes up to you begging you to have mercy on his or her situation, do you: a) get annoyed and grumble about always being hassled, wind your window up & ignore that person? b) Give a curt no or shake your head and then proceed to ignore any further pleas from the individual? c) Offer an apple or left over sandwich, water, spare change and if nothing on hand at least a genuine smile and an apology for not being able to help?
While you think about your answer, also think about what Jesus would want you to do.
We beg and plead for the Lord to have mercy on us, to move mountains and create a miracle in our lives. We know that often the Lord will use people to bring about that the miracle we are praying for. So knowing this, should we not be extending that same mercy & compassion on those begging and pleading for help?
Perhaps we are that miracle they have been praying and asking the Lord for? Everything we do in life has a ripple effect, and often we do not realize how just a random act of kindness, compassion and mercy shown to another individual can mean the difference to them not going hungry, getting shelter for a night or perhaps reinstalling their faith and hope in the world and not committing suicide.
Another scenario, a brother or sister offends us, hurts us, or lets us down, or perhaps behaves in a manner you would not expect of them. Do we a) harbor that grudge or resentment and believe we are vindicated because we have been so hurt or b) do we realize we are all human and therefore fallible and that sometimes the offence is completely unintentional or not personal?
We all make mistakes. Every day we stumble and we fall and we cry out for forgiveness. Again, should we not be extending that same forgiveness to others?
Of course, everything is not as black and white as this, as we live in a complex and broken world. Relationships are complex and messy and the feelings of hurt, rejection and pain are very real. However, my challenge to you is to do some self-reflection and ask yourself this, “Am I extending God’s love, mercy and compassion to all I meet or am I being selective?”
God loves us no matter what. We can’t do any more to earn God’s love as God’s love is unconditional.
However, we are meant to be ever-changing and ever-growing into all God called us to be, and part of that growth is to develop the characteristics of our God. To grow in our love and acceptance for God’s people. I challenge you today to do a little more, to show a little more love, a little more kindness, a little more compassion. The more you practice it, the easier it will become, and it will become part of your DNA!
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into God’s image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV)