january 19th - mercy & Truth
Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man. Prov 3:3-4 (NKJV)
Do you get along with other people? Most of us have a few impossible people to deal with, but as a general rule, do you get along with the people around you? If trouble is always swirling around you; If controversy is typically trailing in your wake; If you cannot "hear" certain names without flinching: If you involve yourself in gossip on a regular basis; Then you are, without a doubt, a part of the problem. Please don’t stop reading--you can begin to turn it all around by embracing and putting into practice some wisdom that comes from God.
Make a choice to live a life full of mercy and truth. Let mercy and truth be at the center of the relationships that you develop in life. This starts with your family and extends out to the very edges of people that you are barely acquainted with. Pour out mercy; meaning, YOU stop being judgmental. Too often, we judge others unfairly and then compound the problem with confrontation and/or gossip. We are so effective when it comes to picking the speck out of someone else's eye, but too easily forget about the great log that makes it impossible for us to see clearly. Was Jesus right by calling us "hypocrites" in this matter? "Yes," Jesus was always right!
How do we discard hypocrisy? It starts by accepting the truth about ourselves. When the Holy Spirit gives us His honest evaluation, the result will be a new baptism of humility. We
will never fulfill the Apostle Paul's call to, "Esteem others as better than ourselves," unless we have an honest, truthful view of ourselves. Humility allows us to extend mercy and grace when others fail to live up to our expectations. Humility allows us to speak the truth in love for the purpose of reconciliation. When we walk this way, the Word tells us that we will, "Find favor and high esteem in the eyes of God and man." The result is worth the effort!
Author’s Note: The New Testament establishes two standards by which we can measure our relationships. The first standard is the well-known Golden Rule—which comes from the teaching of Jesus. We are called to treat other people the way we want other people to treat us. Pretty simple and straightforward. The second standard really sets the bar high. Jesus tells His disciples, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Now that puts all of us in hot water. The good news? We have and will continue to have a plethora of opportunities to walk and demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit in our relationships. See if you can turn some of those difficult relationships around…start today! RJD