In our household we have come to a fun stage of life. We have two boys who are 21 months apart or so and with that comes all sorts of new things. They are constantly learning different things, observing things around them that they haven’t noticed before, and they are seeing God more and more each day. We took them up on a trail of the Great Smoky Mountains recently and they looked out over the mountain ranges. My oldest son was amazed at all of the tall mountains, the deep valleys, the blue skies, and the little cars way down below that looked like ants. It’s a fun stage of life.
But with the fun comes all sorts of craziness. We are in the middle of potty training. Which every parent enjoys so much. Sometimes the house also feels more like a court room trying to figure out what has happened between the two. With all of these things going on, we also have two little boys who are learning how to talk, express themselves, and understand their feelings. When you mix all of those things together you get something called life. But how do we respond to these things?
Some days it is really easy to want to just yell and send everyone to time out. Or even better, send everyone to bed early. Although, that might be the easiest thing to do or perhaps the first way we want to respond, it might not be the best. We need to discipline our children of course. Hebrews 12:11, Proverbs 22:6, and many more verses tell us we need to. But we also should consider the words of Jesus, found in Luke 6:36 which says, “ Be merciful, just as your father also is merciful.” To be merciful means to be able to show compassion to others especially when you are in a position to punish them or treat them harshly. How often do we find ourselves in situations, and not just with our kids, where our first reaction is to be harsh? Or to say something cruel? Jesus reminds us that we need to be merciful. Jesus also reminds us that God has been merciful to us and we need to share the same mercy with others.
We find this verse from Jesus in an interesting place at the end of a section where he talks about loving your enemies. Just as Jesus reminds us that our Father has been merciful to us, we need to be merciful to those who treat us wrong. But, we also need to be merciful to the people in our lives and also to our families and children. It isn’t always easy to treat others with mercy but showing mercy is one way we can share God’s love for us. The next time you get frustrated, angry, or maybe your child is driving you crazy, take a deep breath and reflect upon the words of Jesus in Luke 6 to show mercy when we have the opportunity to.