I can often get distracted. Like the time I crossed the street going to church and failed to look both ways. As a result, an oncoming car came to a screeching halt, just a few inches from me. My heart pumped thrice as fast.
The driver, who was also taking his family to church, looked horrified at what could have happened, but gestured for me to go ahead with grace-filled eyes. I thanked him with a pleading gaze and, still trembling, I walked on. I was deeply grateful that he saw me, but also, that he so mercifully brushed off my mistake.
Repeatedly, the Bible tells us to be good to others because God is undeservedly good to us. The Bible text above sits right in the middle of Jesus’ teachings on how to love our enemies. He instructs us to not respond with the same wrong they do to us, but with the good we would want them to do instead. Now that’s mercy and grace!
Back to my story — I was not the driver’s enemy, but if he would have come out of his car to give me a piece of his mind, I would have deserved it. I put myself and his family in danger by not diligently looking at the road. Yet, instead, he chose to extend grace and mercy towards me.
As we pray and ask God for grace and mercy, do we extend it to others?
My Lord, My God, help me. You know my heart and my challenges at forgiving and loving others. I sometimes want my own justice, but this is not your will for us. As I release those who do me wrong voluntarily or involuntarily, you take care of me, and bring your own justice if need be. When I let go, you change my heart. There is no room for hatred or anxiety. Your love and peace can flow. Cleanse me, Lord. Amen!
Go Deeper – Think of one person who has done you wrong or is currently doing you wrong. In what practical way could you go against your fleshly desire for revenge and love on them? If it is impossible or unsafe to reach out to them, how could you make more room for forgiveness towards them in your life?
Photo Credit: Joshua Earle