Reflections on Mercy in these troubled times. From Pastor’s DESK
Since it’s the year of Mercy 2015-2016; I wanted to reflect on mercy; forgiveness which goes beyond this year of mercy! It’s a life time need for all of us seeking peace! Writing or talking about troubled times, I am not only thinking of our South Shore communities and surrounding Chicagoland neighborhoods where all of us live and come from to go to our church.
As I write this note I am also thinking of the troubled world at large which is our home as well. When you look at Television, listen to Radio, or read newspapers, local and international papers on the internet; all we see is violence and suffering beyond measure! Some of the suffering is visible to the naked eye; other wounds are beyond the visibility of our physical eyes but they are the deepest wounds and most painful ever! How can we even imagine how to heal such wounds that we cannot see and yet are the most excruciating of all wound!
I am thinking of the mental torture people are going through due to losing their loved ones, their children, their-everything on which their livelihood depended on! Their dignity is lost, they are feeling unwelcome wherever they go , they feel that they have no voice, no one seem to listen to them and they feel ignored as if they do not belong! How do you tell such a person to forgive or have mercy on the person/s closing “their homes” and destroying their existence! The situation at times seem “beyond repair” to some of us who live and have grown up in “environment” which is so controlling and with unseen handcuffs on our hands of which we do not know who has the keys to unlock them! Unending constraints from all sides that make us feel like suffocating from the restraints imposed on every move we make!
What can we do when we seem to be living constantly in such gloomy situation? First and foremost let us “try” not to get bitter. We have to make up our minds when we are offended as we certainly will be offended. As Christians we practically have only one choice; “to forgive”! The apostle Paul gives some insight on how we can approach an offence is his letter to the Colossians. “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.” Colossians 3:12-13.
This forgiveness will keep us closer to the Lord on this journey of our lives. We continue to pray to stay away from bitterness as much as possible. Bitterness can be the root cause of turning ourselves away from God as we start thinking that God might not be on our side. So let us pray as much as we can to stay away from bitterness and uncontrollable anger when we feel we are offended.
The book of Exodus; (Ex.15:22-25); the journey in the Wilderness to Sinai, the Israelites became bitter and felt like they were going to die of thirst as they had no flesh water to drink. God instructed Moses to cast a tree into the waters of “Marah” (marah means bitter). When the tree was cast into the waters; it turned the “better water” into the fresh sweet water! What would be that tree that can turn bitterness into fresh waters? Proverbs 15:4; says “A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse one breaks the spirit.” Soothing words and our words of forgiveness can bring down the bitterness and calm the situation which would otherwise escalate into revenge and turn the situation into chaos. Let us talk to our sons and daughters and grand-children about our situation. The situation might not seem to be getting better but if we all work together and especially become a brother’s keeper. Where we can look out for each other we can all make it work and if we all lift a little bit of this burden the weight will feel less heavy.
When we face these dire situations mentioned above that are affecting our society and communities in particular, lets make sure we do NOT become bitter. Let’s choose to forgive and speak healing words instead of inciting the already escalated situation we are in.