Monday, February 13, 2017

merciful

     Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
     Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
     He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. (Mark 3:1-6)


Looking for a reason to accuse is not a healthy place from which to live life.  In fact, the spirit it produces within us is toxic.  Yet it is so easy to get drawn into that particular way of seeing and of being, especially in this day and age.  Jesus, however, proposes another way.  Instead of looking for a reason to accuse, he wants us to look for an opportunity to show mercy.  After all, it was Jesus who said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." (Matthew 5:7)  I wonder where that leaves those who criticize and accuse? 

My guess is that if I was somehow able to use the energy I normally expend on accusation and criticism in a much more positive way--on showing grace and mercy--then the world would be a much better place.  It would certainly be much more kind. 

Forgive me, O Lord, when my stubborn and insecure heart causes me to seek ways to accuse and criticize rather than to show mercy and grace.  For when I seek to harm rather than to love, to attack rather than to engage, to tear down rather than to build up, I have ceased to be merciful.  And thus, I have ceased to be like you.  Amen.

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