The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. Psalm 103:8-10
These verses are a wonderful reminder of the God we worship, serve and praise. They allude to Exodus 34 and the forgiveness Israel received from the Lord. However, my thoughts this week kept taking me down the road of personal conviction. I’m so thankful the Lord doesn’t treat us the way we deserve or the way we treat others. Without His great mercy and His immeasurable capacity to remove our sin, there would be no hope. But, as followers of Christ, we are told, “Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them.” Luke 6:31 and “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t always do a great job with this. I strive to do a better job every day, but some moments, I can really stink it up in this area. As I reflected on this, I realized that it’s more difficult for me to treat others as I want to be treated when I’m tired, busy, already frustrated or disagree with their actions. What are your triggers?
As I sit and think about all the bad decisions I’ve made, things I’ve said and done over the past forty some years, there are A LOT! I have no doubt the Lord was frustrated with or disagreed with way more than just a few. Thank goodness He never turned His back on me. Thank goodness He continued to shower me with mercy, covered my sin with forgiveness and allowed me back into the fold of His loving arms. That’s true unconditional love.
Yes, there were times when He was quiet, but it drew me back to Him. It made my desire to seek Him stronger, my faith deeper and my hope brighter. He was always there, just quiet. Just like in the book of Esther. It’s the only book of the Bible where God’s name isn’t mentioned, but He’s in every detail, drawing all eyes and hearts in His direction.
This week I feel as if I should write this verse on my forehead. I want to remember, this week and always, to praise God for the amazing love and mercy He shows me in my mess. And I don’t want to stop there! I want to extend the love and mercy He shows me onto others. Others who look, think, believe and act differently from me. Others who may automatically think the worst of me before I even open my mouth. Others who . . . . you fill in the blank.
Are you up for the challenge? I pray I am! I have no doubt God will place these people in my path this week, even more than usual, to help solidify this lesson in my heart. Stay strong and courageous friends. Keep your eyes on the cross and the world behind you and remember if you are feeling comfortable in this world you aren’t doing something right. This isn’t our world. It’s just a temporary stop before our final destination.