Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:36 (NIV)
A few years ago I was having some personal difficulties with someone. If I am to be honest in my feelings, this person was just downright mean. He said mean things and was about the business of shaming people. Not only that, he was in a leadership position in an organization where I volunteered. Man, did I want to give him a piece of my mind. Not only that, many other people wanted to share pieces of their mind as well. His behavior was toxic and was causing the organization to flounder.
I prayed and prayed asking God how I should address this. Could I tell him off? Could I share how hurtful he was? Could I let him have a piece of my mind? God only ever responded with one word “Mercy.” Oh come on! Seriously? But the response every time I prayed was the same “Mercy.” To be honest, I wasn’t totally sure what “Mercy” meant but I did know I was being told to do nothing. What was super hard was when other folks came and said “What are we going to do? We should report him! We should do something!” I had to share what God said and I had to do nothing. I couldn’t get on the bandwagon.
Recently I discovered what mercy actually means. I was reading something (sorry, I don’t remember what it was) and it said that grace is getting something you don’t deserve and mercy is not getting what you do deserve. I remembered this story and wondered why God wouldn’t give this person what they deserved. And then it hit me, he does that with me every day.
Every day he extends grace and mercy to this soul who doesn’t deserve either. Every day he overlooks my behavior and my not so kosher thoughts and shows me mercy. When I processed this, my heart overflowed with gratitude.
God is always about growing us and others. As I look back on this situation I am really thankful I didn’t say anything. It wouldn’t have changed a thing (honestly) but it did allow me to show God’s love with my words (or lack thereof). No matter how I feel about someone’s behavior, that is always the most important thing.
Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. Ephesians 6:19 (NIV)