Mercy is the result of humility
By Dr. William Holland
It’s easy to be suspicious and though it’s wrong, unfortunately it’s common to judge unfairly and display negative emotions toward others. If we could only remember that many people are going through some type of painful trial and difficulty, which usually explains their unusual behavior. I am regularly involved with those who are struggling with serious problems and it changes your perspective when you know the circumstances. As Christians we are called to be a light that represents the nature of Jesus and this includes patience, mercy, long-suffering, forgiveness, and love. This is so that everyone can see Christ within us and hopefully inspire them to learn more about who He is. When we act ugly and rude, we are actually turning others away from the message of grace that we proclaim is the spiritual compass the lost world desperately needs. You have probably noticed that people around you are carefully observing your every move, which, by the way, is having a direct impact on what they think about you and God. It’s true, how we live reveals much more about us than even what we say.
It would be wonderful if we could know what is going on within the lives of those all around us but most of the time we can hardly deal with our own problems. I published a book last year called “A lifestyle of worship” that is about developing a spiritual awareness of God’s presence and how this discernment can drastically change the way we see life. I am convinced we will not grow in our compassion for people until we draw nearer to God. It only makes sense the closer we are to Him the more concern we will have for others. When I’m focused and trying to do God’s will, I am more humble and have no desire to judge others. It’s when we are distant from Him and filled with arrogance that we gravitate toward negative and critical reactions. Rick Warren is quoted, “God’s mercy to us is the motivation for showing mercy to others. Remember, you will never be asked to forgive someone else more than God has forgiven you.”
I read a story a while back about a young stewardess that told about her experiences. She had always considered herself a happy and positive person and was so excited when she had been selected among many capable candidates. She wanted to help people and serve others and this unique opportunity seemed perfect. However, shortly after she began her new career, the glamorous imaginations turned to a disappointing reality as she realized she was hardly more than a waitress working 30,000 feet above the ground. Nonetheless, she continued trying to be positive but started to become more of an actor that went through the motions of faking a smile and constantly forcing a thank you to groups of people that were rude and harsh. She discovered over time that when someone was desperately calling out for her it was usually not an emergency but rather to complain because their coffee was cold.
One day she noticed a man boarding the plane that was carrying a black plastic garbage bag which is an automatic red flag. He placed the bag in the overhead and patted the closure softly. She was having a bad day and with being highly suspicious of what was inside the bag, she warned the crew to keep an eye on him. All of these negative thoughts were swirling inside her mind and had given her a hateful impression even though she knew nothing about the situation. As he was waiting in line for the bathroom she finally saw a perfect chance to pounce on him with a subtle interrogation about his intentions. He looked at her with tears in his eyes and said he had come to New York because his only son was a first responder at ground zero and had been killed when the towers collapsed. He had picked up his uniform which was so precious to him and it was in the plastic bag in the overhead bin. These are the wake-up calls to our conscience that remind us of what a vast difference there is between the way we see life and the way life really is. “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall receive mercy” Matthew 5:7.
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