"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
I felt like I was in junior high all over again. The snickering, sneering, whispering, giggling, pointing of the girls in the corner of the school lavatory were targeted at me. I quickly looked in the mirror to see if I'd spilled paint on a precarious spot on my sweater or if my fly was down. Since I checked out okay I realized they were just being plain mean.
My heart sank to the soles of my penny loafers. Then it hit me. "They're only four and five years old...and I'M the teacher!" Rallying every ounce of patience inside my bones I quietly ushered the band leader of the little babes to the time-out chair. With the help of my friendly colleague I attempted to explain the art of respect and good behavior while showing this little heart that I still loved her and forgave her.
It was a difficult afternoon. I knew I should quack like a duck (figuratively) and let the whole situation roll off my back. Instead, I wove the yarn of this tale over and over again to those who would bend an ear in my direction as if I found someone as upset about this as I was, it would make me feel better. But, it didn't. Instead it started to harden my heart and make me feel worse.
Through the arms of a sweet little boy who'd arrived early for class the next morning, God started to soften my heart. His little hands wrapped around my leg during our prayer time before class and it felt as though God poured a hot cup of comfort directly into my soul.
I rode home on the warmth of his hug , opened my email where God introduced me to mercy. It's a simple word that's rarely used in the day to day encounters with injustice. Yet it seems abundant in times of catastrophic despair. Mercy is "a compassion or forbearance shown to an offender" (Webster Dictionary). Truly, God meant it to be a part of our character all the time, not just in the worst of circumstances. The author of my online devotional reminded me of this in her reference to Micah 6:8 "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
To show mercy to someone who has offended is a humbling experience indeed but to LOVE mercy?! It's not my nature to LOVE mercy. It's more my nature to want to hold a grudge and tie strings to my forgiveness. It takes a humble heart to truly let go of those strings, offer forgiveness freely, compassionately and mercifully.
Lord, may I show YOUR mercy, YOUR compassion, YOUR forbearance to EVERYONE in EVERY situation EVERY day as you do for me. May I be the cup bearer of your hot comfort and mercy to those who may not love me and show them your love through me.