Monday, March 26, 2007

Mercy and Love

If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ,
as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today.
Mahatma Ghandi

The teachings of Jesus are straight-forward and easy to understand, but so difficult to put into practice. Many Christians become hung up on their own scriptural interpretations and preferences and spend far too much time judging rather than loving others. Africakid wrote similarly in this post. As Christians, we need to focus on following Jesus' example.

Why did I cross the street to avoid this man downtown? Somehow I think Jesus would have made a point of saying hello and offering him something of physical and eternal value. Our fear and pride keep us from fulfilling our purpose on this earth. Yesterday, we read this passage at our dinner devotions. I know I have a long way to go before I can say, "This is how I live".

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

“Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also;
and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.

“Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?
For even sinners love those who love them.
“If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?
For even sinners do the same.
“If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend,
expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great,
and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged;
and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.

“Give, and it will be given to you.
They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over.
For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

Luke 6:27-38

7 comments:

  1. A living example of the Good Samaritan parable. When faced with the need to help someone in need, most of us choose to cross the street.
    When my daughter lived in Wash., D.C. she would give money to the street beggars. That really impressed me--that she had such compassion, and that she put it into action.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Another blogger from Canada I read posted recently about a homeless man with signs that say "I need two dollars" - wonder if its the same man? Maybe that's a common thing to write on your sign, who knows, just seems like a strange coincidence.

    I work with the homeless, so don't find them to be nearly as scary as the general public does. They're just ordinary people facing many more life challenges than we do.

    I feel pretty conflicted about giving money when I see them on the streets, often I think because I "know" them and know of the help that is available that they don't take, or I know too much about what's brought them to be in that circumstance. I shouldn't judge and should give where I can, regardless.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Uncle H. is a living example of "mercy & love". I could never count the number of times he's given money or food to beggars on the streets and those who came to his church ...and paid restaurant bills unknowingly by the recipient. Your Grandad T. was much the same.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This post really hit home. Donna is right. Most of us tend to cross the street and avoid these people who are regular people, void of danger. We just don't recognize it. My daughter made this clear at the age of 17 when she and a group of her friends would pass a homeless man in the middle of winter who camped out near local fast-food places. They gathered blankets and warm clothing for him and left the packages near his post. He had a name, and I shamefully don't remember it... She gave dollars freely in NYC, Baltimore, and other places. She has more compassion than I but she has changed my mind about many life lessons while I watched her grow. Because of her, I am more giving and understanding.

    Thanks, Ruth.

    ReplyDelete
  5. KGMom- I have heard that Wash D.C. has a lot of street people. Your daughter sets an example I can follow

    Laura- This picture was taken in Cambridge ON. I haven't seen $2 men anywhere else. You know firsthand the social backgrounds of many homeless people. Many are disadvantaged from birth and many have mental illnesses. I too feel conflicted, because I work in the social services system. I think the important thing is to show a caring attitude and to be slow to judge.

    OmaL- I know Uncle H is very generous, but didn't know about Grandad. I hope you continue to be blessed for your generosity.

    Mary- Your daughter, like Donna's sounds very special. I think her generation may be more accepting and less judgmental than previous generations.

    ReplyDelete
  6. My mom used to bring homeless people home on occasion.-One family that she was trying to help out turned out to be frauds-they actually had a money but were just begging in the streets wearing tattered clothes.-I'm not bothered by homeless people and have offered to buy people lunch.-The reason I don't give out money is that many people will use the money for drugs and alcohol.
    -My two sisters and I all work with people that have developemental disabilities, drug addictions or physical limitations of some sort.-I have no idea why it worked out that way.-I like the bible quotes despite the fact that I bird more on Sundays than go to church.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Interesting that you and your sisters all work with disadvantaged people. I too wonder if the money I may give would be used for drugs or alcohol. I attend church but think the outdoors is the best chapel anywhere.

    ReplyDelete