Yesterday I fell for it again – responding badly to someone who had really got under my skin.
Almost as soon as I had said my bit Matthew 25 came to mind. Vs 30 to 40 say “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? (39) When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
When we show pity, compassion, and kindness to those in difficulty, we are practicing the merciful attitude that God expects each of His children to show at all times. Of course, He does not want us to be so soft-hearted that we become an easy mark for those who would take advantage of us, but He does want us to develop a keen sense of discernment that realises when mercy is a better option than the strict application of rules.
Undoubtedly, each of us would lend a helping hand to another who was in physical need, but there are other situations in which a physical need is not obvious that also require us to show kindness. Particularly, we need to learn to use kindness in our dealings with each other on a daily basis. And work is where I find this is challenged the most. To put it into today’s language, everyone has bad-hair days, and on some days, even a normally lovable person can be very difficult to live/work with.
Age differences can lend themselves to misunderstandings. We may still carry prejudices that rear their ugly heads from time to time, causing friction. Yesterday I just did not think before I spoke.
Mistakes made in the past can seem to hang over us like a cloud and never go away, and as a result we do not feel forgiven, affecting our attitudes. And of course, we all have different backgrounds .
Each of these problems can spark trouble with our closest family members and friends not least colleagues at work.
The problem that all of us face in making righteous judgments is that we cannot see into the other person’s heart; we do not really know their intentions and attitudes. We have a hard enough time understanding ourselves, let alone someone else! In Jesus’ comments about judgment in His Sermon on the Mount, He cautions us about being too critical: “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3). Therefore, if we have to make a judgment call, it is far better to lean toward patience, forbearance, and mercy.
So, when we find ourselves offended by anyone, rather than responding in kind, we should apply the principle of giving a soft answer (Proverbs 15:1), turning the other cheek (Matthew 5:39), and extending tender mercies (Colossians 3:12).
Jesus Christ wants us to remember Matthew 18:3: “So My heavenly Father will [pass judgment against] you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” Just as He forgave each of us from the heart, He wants us to learn to forgive others in the same generous, merciful way.
A tough ask in the cut and thrust of work life but then that’s where I spend most of my time so its where I should be putting these principles into place the most isn’t it? Food for thought…..