Loving others can sometimes feel difficult, and not just because we have our own free will, our own personalities and our individual issues. And not just because sometimes our experiences with others can be rocky and full of anxiety or stress. We can tend to love from our emotions, intellect, strength, and within our own lens and conditions instead of with an agape love, God’s love, love that comes from and is God. God’s love is not limited. We may not set out to love in a limited way but it can happen. So when a loved one takes too long to change, grow, respond to the love, or receive the love we have for them, etc., we may understandably get frustrated, afraid, sad, angry and more.
Think about it. As a parent, you may love your child with everything you got and gone get. You want the best for them. You want them to do their best and be their best. You want them to have a healthy, great future. But they may be disrespectful, making poor decisions, and letting everything you teach them go in one ear and out the other. They keep driving you crazy and you feel defeated. Or maybe you are patient and nothing they do can shift your hope or peace. But if not, maybe you like countless parents who feel like throwing up your hands or letting them know they can catch a hand lol.
Same thing with a spouse or friend (or even a colleague), your patience may be running low and you are beyond frustrated with them. You want them to pay for what they are doing or aren’t doing.
I remember I was frustrated at my child and one of the messages that hit my heart was have mercy. I believe that message was one from God. The Hebrew word for mercy is rachum and it means compassionate. Within mercy, there is forgiveness and there is compassion. When we deserved God’s wrath, He gave us mercy. When we deserved God to turn His back on us, He gave us His ear and His heart. And there are times now when we may deserve punishment or a certain type of consequence, but God gives us mercy. He may not remove every consequence, but He will give us His kindness, His compassion, His forgiveness, His patience and his unfailing love.
And so maybe someone in your life needs you to have mercy upon them. Maybe you need to give your own self mercy. God’s mercies are new everyday and we are definitely to have mercy upon others and ourselves.
Now this doesn’t mean to enable or to make excuses for someone’s poor behavior or choices. Nor does it mean to fail to set boundaries. This doesn’t mean to not give consequences or allow someone in your life that is not respecting your boundaries or that may be a danger to you or someone else in your life. So use discernment, stay alert and be proactive. Seek God’s wisdom in your relationships with others: family, friends, colleagues, children, spouses, etc.
Moreover, have mercy. Forgive and bear compassion to others around you. Not only because they need it, but because it serves your heart in so many ways and also because God forgives and shows compassion to you daily.
Remember to love others as you love yourself. Whew, Jesus, give us grace and teach us how to love ourselves.
Read this scripture below on mercy and forgiveness:
Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt. “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
Matthew 18:21-35 NLT