Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In a world that measures strength by force, numbers, and material goods, Jesus’ instruction to “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” strikes an opposing chord to reveal what God considers most important, namely, our capability to choose love in the face of everything else.
We’re human; our brains function by detecting contrast and making distinctions. Our complex, fast-paced world demands judgments about actions, issues, and options. Yet Jesus’ words challenge us to remember: the business of judging hearts and motivations belongs to God. Our call is to emulate God’s higher standard of mercy and forgiveness, with the promise that our behavior – loving or otherwise – will be reflected back to us. Choosing to love is clearly the better course, and its rewards beyond measure.
How easily do I cross the subtle line between judging others’ actions and their hearts? Am I willing to let God be God?
—Cindy Ristroph is a parish minister at St. Aloysius Parish in Baton Rouge, LA, and occasionally writes for the dotMagis blog.
Thank you, Lord, for making clear your desire for us to love one another. I pray for the awareness to recognize when my human inclination to be right or in control distances me from you, and for the grace to choose to love.
Please share the Good Word with your friends!